For the last 22 years, Pueblo Chiles have been taking over Pueblo for an entire weekend during the annual Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival. Thanks to a new branding campaign, local leaders and the newly formed Pueblo Chile Growers’ Association now have their sights set on Pueblo Chiles taking a permanent seat in Colorado’s culture, instead of just Pueblo’s.
This goal brought forth an idea of a Pueblo Chile group special license plate during a casual conversation between State Representative Daneya Esgar and Pueblo County Commissioner Buffie McFadyen.
“We want to make sure that all of Colorado knows that Pueblo Chile is our chile. Pueblo Chile is Colorado’s Chile, and eventually will be the leading brand of chile across the United States,” Representative Esgar said in a press conference revealing a mock-up of what the license plate could like at the Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival on Friday, September 23, 2016.
Representative Esgar will be coordinating the campaign to collect a minimum of 3,000 petition signatures to document citizen support of the specialty group license plate. If successful, Representative Esgar plans to write a bill to present to the Colorado Legislature.
Volunteers will be collecting petition signatures September 23 – 25 at the Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival at the Pueblo Chile Tent, located near C Street and Union Avenue.
The Pueblo Chile branding campaign was made possible by a $144,000 USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant from the Colorado Department of Agriculture that was obtained by Pueblo County’s Economic Development & Geographic Information Systems department. The Pueblo Chile Growers’ Association, with assistance from Pueblo County and the State of Colorado, are utilizing the grant monies to invest in agritourism and value-added products to extend the availability of Pueblo Chile. The campaign brought an additional $1.1 Million to the Pueblo community in 2015 and is anticipated to grow by 9.4 percent each year after.
“The chiles we grow in Pueblo are as special as our community. They have been grown by our farmers for six generations, and are part of our community’s cultural identity. Celebrating our culture and our agriculture through issuance of a special license plate is entirely appropriate and exciting. I’m thrilled that Representative Esgar is spearheading this effort, and am excited to see Pueblo Chile license plates across the state soon!”
Several community leaders also attended the announcement to show their support of the license plate campaign.