MustardFEST brings wiener dog races, spicy eating contest to downtown Springfield

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

It’s time to relish the festival centered around Springfield’s favorite condiment – for at least one weekend each year — and things will get spicy in 2023.

The fifth MustardFEST will add a new eating contest along with the ever-popular wiener dog races and other attractions when it spreads across National Road Commons Park, 50 W. Main St., noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Other activities will be at Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co. until 10 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free and is presented by Woeber Mustard Company, Visit Greater Springfield and Mother Stewart’s.

Food-related festivals are popular across the state, and this is the chance to show off a Springfield product’s possibilities in numerous ways, according to Ashten Houseman, downtown events programmer for the Greater Springfield Partnership.

“We love to support local and this really shows how we love something we have right here in town,” she said. “The wiener dog races bring out the crowds.”

The Champion City Wiener Dog parade and introductions will begin a 1 p.m., racing on the 25-yard course will begin at 1:30 and the awards ceremony at 2:30.

As the race course sidelines get crowded with spectators, a new innovation will allow attendees to watch a digital display of the races at National Road Commons.

While the dog races are one of the main events, in some ways it’s a warm-up for the first Woeber’s MustardFEST Spicy Mustard Eating Contest.

Woeber’s has created a new hot mustard just for this competition, and it will offer the chance to win prizes. Houseman compares the format similar to a hot wing eating contest, but this will use a different food.

The event is partnering with Pretzlemaker, which will provide pretzels that contestants will dip in sauces including Woeber’s Jalapeno Mustard, Wasabi Mustard, Sriracha Mustard and 10X Hot Horseradish.

“This should be a lot of fun and a great addition to MustardFEST,” Houseman said.

Free Woeber’s mustard samplings will also be available throughout the day.

Other highlights will include a beer garden from Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co., open until 4 p.m., with a keg tapping at noon. Hot dog carts, a few food trucks, live music and lawn games will also be part of the day.

Mother Stewart’s will add to the spirit with live music from the Sauerkraut German Band at 2 p.m., followed by the Champion City Food Rally, 5-9, and more live tunes from The Factory Line at 7.

Downtown restaurants will also join in the spirit by offering mustard-themed items.

In previous years, MustardFEST went for two days, but Houseman said scaling it to one day should lead to more engagement and by doing the activities at National Road Commons Park.

Christopher Woeber, director of operations at Woeber’s Mustard, said one of the reasons MustardFEST has reached this landmark year is the people.

“Our community really supports local events. The Springfield Jazz and Blues Festival, the Summer Arts Festival, CultureFest, IndieCraft, and Holiday In The City among others have huge turnout and support,” he said. “We hope that MustardFEST can continue to be one of those signature events. Who doesn’t like world-class mustard and competitive wiener dog races?”


What: MustardFEST

Where: National Road Commons, 50 W. Main St., and Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co., 102 W. Columbia St.

When: noon-4 p.m. at National Road Commons and 5-10 p.m. at Mother Stewart’s, Saturday, Sept. 16

Admission: Free

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