The Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its 2012 Fall Festival and Chili and Salsa Cook-Off, which will be held on the downtown square in Cassville on Saturday, Oct. 27.
"We are going to forgo the CASI guidelines this year," said Mindi Artherton, chamber executive director. "CASI has been great to work with in the past, and we really appreciate everything they have done for our cook-off.
"By not participating in CASI, our chamber is stretching our dollars even further," said Artherton. "We had to pay a fee to participate in CASI, and this year, we have a group of volunteers who have committed to coordinating the judging free of charge. It will still be done in a very professional and non-biased manner."
The theme for this year's event is fall. Vendors and chili and salsa cook-off participants are encouraged to decorate their booth space with hay bales, corn stalks, pumpkins, mums and other fall decor.
A number of awards will be up for grabs at this year's Fall Festival. Community members who purchase taste testing kits will help determine the winners of the people's choice chili, people's choice salsa, best decorated booth and most spirited booth awards. Each winner will receive a $25 prize.
"CASI has awarded certificates to the top 10 CASI cookers in the past," said Artherton. "Since we will not be participating in CASI this year, we will not have this division. In place of the CASI awards, we will award 10 $25 prizes to cookers in various categories.
"For example, we will award best beef chili, most creative concoction and spiciest," said Artherton. "As part of our 10 categories, our $200 sponsors have the opportunity to come up with their own chili award, thus giving them more exposure and recognition for their sponsorship."
The complete list of award categories will be available Oct. 1. The list will include three $25 prizes for the best hot, mild and sweet or fruity salsas.
In addition to the $25 prizes, participants will have the opportunity to win two $50 prizes, which will be awarded to the best overall chili and best overall salsa entries.
Vendors and chili and salsa cook-off participants can obtain an application and a list of cook-off rules at the Cassville Chamber of Commerce office on Main Street in Cassville.
Chamber members can begin reserving booth space this week. Non-chamber members can begin reserving space on Friday, Aug. 31.
Booth space will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. The fee is $40 per booth. An additional $10 fee will be charged for electric. The deadline to register for the event is Oct. 15.
Sponsors are needed for this year's Fall Festival. Sponsorship levels range from $50 to $200. All sponsors will be listed on the back of event T-shirts and recognized in the October chamber newsletter and on signage at the event.
For more information on the Fall Festival and Chili and Salsa Cook-Off or to serve as an event sponsor, call the chamber office at 847-2814.