Annual Chili & Salsa Cook-Off to heat up city

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

90 vendors, crafts, bands, pet parade to fill square

Autumn may bring falling leaves and temperatures, but things will be heating at Cassville's annual Chili & Salsa Cook-Off and Craft Fair, which will be held on the square on Oct. 22.

A local tradition, the popular event will include chili and salsa tasting, a pancake breakfast, a pet parade, a chili dog eating contest, a 5K, music and scores of vendors.

This year, the theme is 70s and 80s TV shows.

"Vendors will dress up as a TV show from those eras, and the public will vote," said Brittany Farris, Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce director. "We have a few TV shows we're excited to see people dressed up as, like 'Happy Days,' 'M*A*S*H' and 'Gilligan's Island.'"

A total of 90 vendors have signed up for booths so far.

"And, they're still coming," Farris said. "There's a wide variety of booths this year. Along with chili and salsa cookers, there will be vendors for crafts, adult and kids clothing, homemade items, baked goods, baskets, pottery, woodcarving, purses, jewelry, food vendors and informational booths. T-shirts will also be available."

The deadline for vendors to apply for booths is today (Wednesday). Booth fees are $40 for a 10-by-10 space, and $50 if electricity is needed.

"Chili and salsa vendors need to fill out an application and must attend a health department meeting on Oct. 13," Farris said.

Some chili and salsa competitors are even coming in from Arkansas to participate in the cook-off.

"Anyone can join the cook-off," she said.

A lineup of events is as follows:

* 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.: Cassville Fire Protection District annual pancake breakfast with all-you-can-eat pancakes for a donation.

* 8 a.m.: booths open

* 8 a.m.: YMCA 5K Chili Run/1 Mile Fun Walk

* 10 a.m.: pet parade

* 10:30 a.m.: Three in One band

* 11 a.m.: Chili/salsa tasting

* 11:30 a.m. Chili dog eating contest, sponsored by Sonic

* 12 p.m.: Lucas Gates Band

* 12 p.m.: Chili and salsa judging begins

* 1:30 p.m.: Announcement of awards

Awards are as follows: Peoples' Choice award for chili and salsa, $50 each; Best Decorated booth, $50; and Most Spirited booth $50. Chili and salsa awards include: First place, $150; second place, $100; and third place, $75.

"The Show," featuring HomeTown Sound and The RedHots and other local talent, will be held that night at 7:30 p.m. at the FEMA building and event center.

"We are also doing a 1970s/1980s theme for 'The Show,' too," Farris said. "We're excited this year's event. It will be a fun, family-friendly event, and we're excited for everyone to come out and enjoy it with us."

For more information, people may contact Farris at the chamber office at 417-847-2814.

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