The Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Fall Festival and Chili and Salsa Cook-Off will be held on the square in Cassville on Saturday, Oct. 27. Booths will open at 8 a.m.
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 décor.
In addition to piping hot chili and spicy salsa, this year's event will offer an assortment of other entrainment, including live music, shopping, food vendors and craft booths.
"Volunteer Ann Hennigan is organizing a Thriller Flash Mob that will take the stage at 2 p.m.," said Mindi Artherton, chamber executive director. "The mob has been registered with "Thrill of the World" in an effort to break a record for the largest simultaneous Thriller dance at multiple locations."
Currently, the local flash mob is the only Missouri group registered for the event. Individuals interested in participating in the flash mob are encouraged to email Hennigan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"A second new addition to the event is a pie contest, organized by volunteer Cherry Bailey," said Artherton. "Those who wish to enter this competition should drop their pies off at the chamber booth from 7 to 9 a.m. On the day of the event."
The pie contest will offer three categories: cream pies, fruit pies and other dessert pies. Prizes will be awarded to the individuals who submit the top pie in each category. An overall prize will also be awarded.
"We are doing several things different this year, and I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity we have to make this the best event yet," said Artherton. "In my opinion, this is the best day of the year for Cassville, and I hope our community will come out to enjoy this event and our local businesses will leverage this event to be beneficial for them as well."
One of the major differences this year is that the event will not be a sanctioned Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) cook-off. The change was made by the chamber's cook-off committee this year.
"This decision will in no way affect the event from an attendee perspective," said Artherton. "However, for our chili cookers, we hope this decision will allow our teams to get creative with their chili concoctions and have fun with their cooking.
"By not following the CASI rules, the cookers will have additional freedom as to what ingredients go in the chili," continued Artherton. "I am anxious to see what our talented cookers come up with."
Awards up for grabs at this year's event include: People's Choice; Best Decorated Booth; Most Spirited Booth; Red Iron Chili, sponsored by Arning Companies; Watt's Zappening Chili, sponsored by Barry Electric; More Bank for Your Buck Chili, sponsored by Commerce Bank; Best Gas Producing Chili, sponsored by Fastrip;
Johnny Cash Ring of Fire Chili, sponsored by Freedom Bank; Best Hot Mix Chili, sponsored by Hutchens Construction; Mercy That's Hot Chili, sponsored by Mercy Hospital; Biggest Rebel Award, sponsored by Rebel Recycling; MariCorp's Meatiest Chili, sponsored by Scott Fitzpatrick; and Great Local Talent, sponsored by Security Bank.
Participants will also have the opportunity to compete for the People's Choice Salsa Award, Best Hot Salsa Award, Best Mild Salsa Award and Best Fruity or Sweet Salsa Award.
All award winners will receive $25 and a certificate.
Community members will also have the opportunity to compete for a $100 prize in the annual Chili Dog Challenge, sponsored by Sonic. The challenge will be held at 11 a.m.
The contestant who eats five chili dogs in the fastest time or the contestant who consumes the most chili dogs in 12 minutes will be declared the winner. The contest will be limited to the first 10 individuals who register by calling or visiting the chamber office.
Barry County Connection will perform at this year's Fall Festival beginning at noon. Band members include Ryan Preddy, Tim Thompson, Jay Bailey, Roddy England, Robby England, Rokky England, Eli Stehlik and Terry Pyles.
The band 2-1-1, which includes Preddy and Jason Blankenship, will also perform acoustic music from 9 to 10 a.m.
Lane Truman will serve as the master of ceremonies for this year's event.
Booth spaces are still available at a cost of $40 each. Vendors who need electric services will be charged an additional $10.
In addition to the award sponsors, this year's Fall Festival and Chili and Salsa Cook-Off is sponsored by the following businesses: All Points Recycling; Angel and Company, CPAs, PC; Barry County Abstract; the Barry County Advertiser; Barry County Farm Bureau; Brattin Insurance; the Cassville Democrat; CenturyLink; the City of Cassville; Latco; Les Jacobs Ford; Runnels Chiropractic; Security Insurance; Shelter Insurance; Sonic; Sport's World; State Farm; Subway of Cassville; Whitley's Pharmacy; and Willis Insurance.
Long and short sleeve event T-shirts will be available in the chamber office during the week of the festival. T-shirts will also be sold at the chamber booth during the cook-off.