It might be a friendly competition, but it’s a competition nonetheless.
The third annual Eagle-Vail Chili Cook-Off, set for Sunday at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion and benefiting the Eagle-Vail Community Garden, is downright cutthroat for some chili creators.
Last year David Courtney, of Beaver Liquors, a garden member, took home the People’s Choice Award.
He had huge signs, topped his chili with jalapeno hushpuppies and handed out free margaritas, said Cassie Pence, the garden’s outgoing president.
“Dave is the real spirit of the chili cookoff,” Pence said. “One of his best friends came in second. They’re real rivals. Their other friend Shawn Smith wants to bust Dave off from first place this year.”
Which is why the chili-smith will serve a dish called “Dave buster applewood smoked pulled pork green chili” this year.
“It’s a really fun event, with a real competitive spirit,” Pence said.
Expect all kinds of chili, from vegetarian options to meat chilis and green chiles.
“People have their own flair,” Pence said. “Some will make their own special cornbread or bring special toppings.”
Pence herself is more of a baker, and she’ll be baking cookies for the cookie table, where people can trade a donation for a cookie.
It’s free to enter and the winner of the event receives a 2014 Eagle-Vail Family Pool Pass, second place wins a $75 gift card to Loaded Joe’s and third place nabs a coveted garden plot. It’s people’s choice and each entry free gets you a vote and a free drink ticket. You can also purchase more votes for a $1 each and raise extra funds for the garden. Beer and wine will be sold for $2 and $3 respectively.
The event is $10 if you bring your own bowl and spoon and $12 if you don’t.
“We’re trying to reduce the amount of trash we create, so we’re giving people a discount on the entry fee if they bring their own,” Pence said.
Along with the food, there will be hay rides and a bouncy castle for the kids, a bonfire with s’mores and live music.
“It’s a real family affair,” Pence said.
The annual Eagle-Vail Chili Cook-Off is the garden’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Last year the event raised around $3,000. Proceeds from this year’s event will be earmarked for building a new shed to house shovels, wheelbarrows and other garden tools, and if there’s any money left over, it’ll likely go towards education, said Pence. The Chili Cook-Off is Pence’s last hurrah as garden president before incoming president Scott Conklin takes over, she said.
“It’s good to get new blood and new leaders in there,” she said. “The committee has grown so much, so the garden is in good hands for sure.”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering for the event or if you have a last minute chili entry to contribute.
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at email@example.com.