Area residents are invited to celebrate fall during the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Chili and Salsa Cook-Off, which will be held on the square in Cassville on Saturday.
"I know this is going to be a great event for the Cassville community and our out-of-town guests," said Mindi Artherton, chamber executive director. "Right now, we have over 115 vendors signed up to participate in the event so there really will be something for everybody.
"There will also be plenty of entertainment," continued Artherton. "The chili and salsa will keep everyone warn and toasty so no need to worry about the weather."
This year's festival will offer 17 chili and five salsa booths. Vendor booths will open at 8 a.m., and chili and salsa tasting will begin at noon.
The band 2-1-1 will provide acoustic music during the morning hours. The local band includes Ryan Preddy, of Cassville, and Jason Blankenship, of Eagle Rock.
Pie contest entries will be accepted at the chamber booth until 9 a.m. Judging will begin at 10 a.m.
"Pies will be judged in three categories: cream pie, fruit pie and other dessert pie," said Artherton. "Pies will be judged on appearance, crust, filling and overall taste. We have 15 pie judges, both male and female, from all age groups and all walks of life."
Pie entries must be baked at home. Commercial bakeries or restaurants are not eligible to participate in the contest. Pies must be baked by the person submitting the entry.
Pies must be baked in an eight- to 10-inch pie pan. Pans will not be returned. Contestants can enter as many pies as they want in the contest. A separate entry form and recipe must be provided for each entry.
"We would like to see at least 20 pies be entered into the contest, but more is always better," said Artherton.
The first place winner in each category will receive a certificate, two tickets to The Show and $15 in Cassville Cash. The baker of the best overall pie will receive a certificate, four tickets to The Show and $20 in Cassville Cash.
Pie will be sold by the slice at the chamber booth after judging has been completed.
A pet parade, sponsored by Herrin Animal Hospital, will be held at 10 a.m. The parade will begin at the Commerce Bank parking lot northeast of the square and move around the square to the main stage southwest of the Barry County Courthouse.
All participants will receive a small goody bag. Larger prizes will be awarded to the pets with the best ears, best tail wag, best trick and best costume.
Registration for the pet parade will be held at the Commerce Bank parking lot beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The annual Chili Dog Challenge, sponsored by Sonic, will be held at 11 a.m. Competitors will race to eat the most hotdogs in 12 minutes. The challenge winner will receive a $100 cash prize.
Chili and salsa tasting kits will be sold at the chamber booth beginning at noon. Kits, which allow festival attendees to vote for the best chili and salsa and most spirited booths, will cost $2 each.
This year's Chili and Salsa Cook-Off is not 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 concotions 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."
In addition to the People's Choice salsa and chili awards and the Best Decorated and Most Spirited booth awards, chili and salsa cookers will be competing for an assortment of awards sponsored by local businesses.
Sponsored awards include: 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.
Other salsa awards up for grabs are: Best Hot Salsa Award, Best Mild Salsa Award and Best Fruity or Sweet Salsa Award.
All award winners will receive $25 and a certificate.
Barry County Connection will take the stage at noon. The popular local band includes Preddy, Tim Thompson, Jay Bailey, Roddy England, Robby England, Rokky England, Eli Stehlik and Terry Pyles.
The Cassville First Baptist Church Family Life Center will offer "Minute-To-Win-It" games beginning at 1 p.m.
The church will offer a variety of other activities and services throughout the festival, including a bounce house, crafts, games, free coffee, pumpkin muffins, chili and popcorn, general seating tables, a baby changing station, a prayer request table and information on the Samaritan's Purse Shoe Box Project.
A "Thriller" flash mob will perform in front of the main stage at 2 p.m. The group will be performing in conjunction with the international Thrill The World event, which set a world record with 22,571 simultaneous dancers performing "Thriller" in 2009.
This year, over 130 cities in more than 17 countries are registered for the event in hopes of setting a new world record.
Lane Truman will serve as master of ceremonies for this year's Chili and Salsa Cook-Off.
Long and short sleeve event T-shirts will be available at the chamber booth during the event.
The Cassville FFA will also be accepting new and gently used coats and winter apparel during the festival. Donations will be provided to children through the Cassville R-4 Bright Futures Program.
The following businesses are also serving as sponsors for this year's event: 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.
For more information on the festival, call Artherton at 847-2814, email her at chamber @cassville.com or visit www.cassville.com.