Fire up the roasting pans and grab a few friends -- it’s still not too late to sign up for the Valley City Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Chili Cook-Off and Community Olympics. The Chamber is bringing the long-standing event back to the North Dakota Winter Show Main Arena on Monday, March 5, and entries are still welcome.
Elaborate booth themes and costumes are part of the fun as local groups and businesses team up to compete for the title of Best Chili, where entries are scored by the distinguished judges on taste, aroma and appearance.
“It’s very competitive,” Chamber Executive Vice President Stephanie Mayfield said of the cook-off, adding that the teams don’t skimp on creativity. “One year the hospital had the chili pot in a body, so it looked like internal organs.”
People’s Choice, Best Decorated Booth and Best Costumes awards will also be given out.
“The People’s Choice Award is a traveling award shaped like a big chili pot, and all the winners get their names engraved on it each year,” said Mayfield.
The public can buy a chili cup for $1 to sample all the contestants’ entries, and can vote for the People’s Choice Award.
“It’s a very good deal, it’s basically your whole supper for a buck,” Mayfield said.
Once everyone has gotten their fill of chili, the arena is cleared to make way for the Community Olympics. An egg toss, smoosh board race, “modified” chuckwagon races, toilet seat horseshoes, and a human horse race are some of the events in the Olympiad.
The human horse race was added to replace the tug-of-war, which Mayfield said was getting too dangerous.
“Some of the people were using so much might, we were concerned for what it could do to their health,” she said.
The buffalo chip toss was also replaced, as the chip supplier “dried up,” Mayfield joked. A new event to replace the chip toss is the “horse sneeze”, where contestants attempt to get a Slinky hanging from a headband to rest in a stacked position on their forehead.
Mayfield said there are roughly ten spots left in both the Olympics and the cook-off. Any interested teams should sign up at the Chamber office no later than Friday.
“We have teams that come back every year to take part in these events and make it a great tradition,” said Mayfield. “It’s a party in the dirt.”