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High: 61°F ~ Low: 43°F
Friday, Oct. 21, 2016

Chili, chocolate, chicken!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A competitor in the 2010 chili cookoff in Shelbyville chops onions and jalapeņo peppers for his entry. Many participants dress up in their chilihead best for the competition.
(T-G File Photo)
Grab a spoon and head downtown Saturday morning for a local foodie's dream: The Chili, Chocolate and Chicken Cookoff, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the courthouse square.

The chili part of the event features 20 teams from 10 states and Canada. Late entries may be received through the end of day on Friday.

Chicken and chocolate are new on the menu for the event, now in its fourth year.

Worried about wilting in the mid-summer heat sampling the various entries? Samplings from the 10 chocolate contestants will be served in air-conditioned comfort inside Dancy's Store and Studio on the east side of the square. Chicken entries are to be pre-prepared and will also be served in air-conditioned comfort.

Visitors may purchase a taster's sampler kit in any of the three categories for $5. The adventurous may purchase kits for all three categories for $12. Consumers' votes will determine the day's winners.

Overall, the event is part of a continuing effort to draw locals and tourists downtown and this year's proceeds will go towards completion of the Park on the Square.*

Event organizers have also drafted an architectural scavenger hunt.

Facades of notable downtown standards are depicted, and contestants may choose from a list which details the historical and current occupants. For example, the Shelbyville Times-Gazette was located on the square prior to 1957. Can you identify which building?

"So many people return to the square to relive memories," said one of the event organizers, Cindy Stephenson, who also serves as chili chairperson.

The event kicks off at 9 a.m. when vendor booths open. Children may enjoy bounce houses, which will be located on Depot Street -- the only street to be blocked off to traffic for the event.

"We will be burying the time capsules David Feldhaus provided for the Bicentennial last year," said Stephenson. Historical items are still being accepted through Friday.

While roundabout traffic will be clear around the square, visitors may chose to park in the city parking lot off South Main Street. Chili cooks will be set up on the inner traffic circle of the courthouse.

A Little Mr. and Little Miss Chili Pepper pageant will take place at 10 a.m. with a $20 entry fee, using city council members as judges. Chase Perryman and friends will entertain beginning at 1 p.m. and cooking contest winners will be announced at 3.

Mid-South Satellite will be on hand with a big-screen display. A cornhole contest will take place during the day. Visitors will also enjoy booths by vendors with arts and crafts, jewelry and t-shirts.

"I think the concept of the Chili, Chocolate and Chicken cookoff is wonderful," said Sylvia Pinson, Director of Shelbyville Parks and Recreation and an avid supporter of downtown activities.