Fall festival returns to square Saturday

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This weekend, area residents will don poodle skirts and tie-dyed shirts for the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Fall Festival. The theme for this year's Chili and Salsa Cook-Off is 1950s and 1960s.

"This is the biggest event our chamber puts on each year," said Mindi Artherton, chamber executive director. "Everyone should stop by, even for an hour, and take advantage of everything this event has to offer.

"Whether it be live music, chili and salsa tasting or shopping, there is sure to be something for everyone, including kids," said Artherton.

Festival booths will open at 8 a.m., and the Bootkickers will kick off the full day of entertainment with a performance at 9 a.m. Cassville YMCA Gymnastics will also offer a demonstration at 9:30 a.m.

A pet parade, sponsored by Cassville Veterinarian Clinic, will be held at 10 a.m. Registration for the parade, which will promenade around the square, will be held at the Commerce Bank parking lot beginning at 9:30 a.m.

First and second place prizes will be awarded to the top pet parade participants. The top pet will receive a certificate for a bath and nail trim, a package of Frontline and a bag of food. The runner-up will receive a bag of food and a package of Frontline.

The third annual Chili Dog Challenge, sponsored by Sonic, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. The competitive eating contest challenges participants to consume five chili dogs within 12 minutes. The competitor with the fastest time will receive $100 in cash.

RWTB Family Martial Arts Center will take center stage at 11:30 a.m. Martial arts students will demonstrate a variety of skills during the performance.

Chili and salsa judging will begin at noon. Chili and salsa tasting kits, which will cost $2, will be available at the chamber booth. Kits allow cook-off attendees to cast a vote for the People's Choice Chili and Salsa awards and the most spirited booth.

"I most enjoy tasting the chili," said Artherton. "Last year was the first time I actually had a chance to sample all the chili and salsa, and I was very impressed. The cooks really outdo themselves.

"Everything was delicious, and it was hard to vote for a winner," said Artherton. "I also really enjoy getting a chance to visit with the craft vendors that come from out of town. It is always interesting to hear feedback from people outside of our community."

Barry County Connection will take the stage at noon and perform classic and country tunes throughout the afternoon. The popular local band includes Ryan Preddy, Tim Thompson, Jay Bailey, Roddy England, Robby England, Rokky England, Eli Stehlik and Terry Pyles.

The annual Chili and Salsa Cook-Off will offer food concessions, an assortment of craft vendors and a kids' area with pony rides, inflatables and carnival rides.

The Cassville First Baptist Church will also offer the following children's activities, including: crafts; a football toss; mini golf and bowling; a ball pit for toddlers; and other games. The church will also serve coffee, cider and muffins in the morning and chili and popcorn in the afternoon and hold drawings for gift certificates and other prizes.

The FBC Family Life Center will offer "Minute-To-Win-It" contests beginning at 1:15 p.m. Individuals interested in participating can sign up by calling the Family Life Center at 846-0003.

"The theme for the cook-off is 1950s and 1960s," said Artherton. "I know the vendors are getting excited about decorating their booths to reflect the theme.

"Also, we have a new event master of ceremonies, Lane Truman," said Artherton. "He has experience at other types of events, so I know he will be a great addition to the cook-off."

The top chili and salsa entries and other award winners will be announced at 3 p.m.

For more information or to sign up for the Chili Dog Challenge, call Mindi Artherton, chamber executive director, at 847-2814, email her at chamber@cassville.com or visit www.cassville.com.

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