Cook-Off moves to ‘The Great Outdoors’

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Annual Chili event to be held at South Park this year

The Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently voted to continue with the tradition of its top festival, the Chili & Salsa Cook-Off, set for Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

While the fall festival will continue, the venue has changed, and this year’s event has been themed, “Chili and Salsa Cook-Off: The Great Outdoors.”

“We had a successful TroutFest in August, despite all odds,” said Ben Lindley, Cassville Chamber Board president. “We see the want and need to have the Chili & Salsa Cook-Off in October. With that being said, our festival is always greatly attended, especially around the noon hour once chili tasting begins. We know physical distancing options will be very limited around the square, so we have decided to move the 2020 Chili & Salsa Cook-Off to the Cassville soccer field area near the Aquatic Park.

“We have coordinated with the City of Cassville, as well as the Cassville YMCA, and soccer games will not be played at our soccer fields on Oct. 24. We are working with Barry Electric to make sure there is additional electrical outlets for our cookers and vendors.”

Lindley said this is an unusual year, as everyone knows, and the board is aware of the historic downtown area being the heart of Cassville.

“We know this is unfortunate for our businesses located on the square to move this year’s event, but our choices were very limited,” he said. “The board agreed that for the event to still go on this year, it would have to be relocated to an area with over three acres of space.”

Rachael Freeman, Chamber director, said the Chili & Salsa Cook-Off committee will follow Barry County guidelines and will continue to work with Barry County health and emergency management officials on a weekly basis.

“At this time, there is a masking order for Barry County on those who serve food,” she said. “Our food and chili vendors will need to comply with our local masking ordinance. [Also] at this time, masks won’t be required of our festival goers or non-food vendors, but they will be welcomed.

“Just like the TroutFest, we will have hand sanitizer and hand washing stations on site. We will also have reminders posted to encourage physical distancing.”

Freeman said the Chamber is excited to move forward with the event.

“Our theme for this year was chosen by our committee in February, and it seems very fitting during our current situation,” she said. “The theme is, ‘The Great Outdoors.’”

Chamber members will be the first vendors able to sign up for the event. Vendor applications are now available, and Chamber members’ applications are being accepted. All other vendor applications will be accepted beginning Monday.

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