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Monday, May 2, 2016

Chili, canines, cars: Truly a triple treat

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Brooklyn Jacobs and grandmother Articele Neese get acquainted with Gracie, a mini-Aussie belonging to Lori Gordon, at last year's event. A dog and mutt show will be held on the square this weekend.
(T-G File Photo by Tracy Simmons)
If you enjoy titles or bragging rights, you, your car and your dog have a chance to be named "Best of Shelbyville" this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It's the fourth annual Uptown City Fair, featuring the Tennessee State Chili Cook-off Competition, a sanctioned event of the International Chili Society.

"This is a rebuilding year of the City Fair, by the local merchants," explained Calvin Cannon, event organizer.

The ICS sanctions nearly 200 chili cookoffs each year, and local winners qualify to compete for cash prizes and awards throughout the year. Top-level winners compete for a total prize package of $55,000 at the World Championship Chili cookoff in October.

Last year, the event included chicken and chocolate in the festival name. But Cannon, who took over organizational duties at the last minute, said he wants to concentrate on the basics.

"We as the 'Uptown Merchants' wanted to focus solely on Tennessee State Chili Cookoff event and turn it into a signature event for Shelbyville," he said.

Take your best shot

Bill Donovan of Cincinnati, Ohio competed in last year's ICS-qualifying event.
(T-G File Photo by Tracy Simmons)
Entrants may submit in one of three categories -- salsa, chili verde and red chili. So far, 14 competitors from six southern states are expected to set up camp on the square. Visit chilicookoff.com for more information.

For home cooks, the event will also feature a people's choice chili cookoff. Those entries may be prepared at home or on-site, but must be ready to serve at 11 a.m. There's no entry fee to compete, but two gallons of chili must be submitted by 11 a.m., and must include beans or pasta. Best of all, you'll be known as the Best of Shelbyville for the next year.

If you visit the competition, you may sample the People's Choice entries by purchasing a taster's kit for $5. Some of the competition chili will be available for sampling as well.

Worth barking about

The Uptown City Fair Car Show will be on the square, and if that's not enough entertainment, you may enter your canine in the people's choice Dog and Mutt competition. All dogs must be leashed, but have a chance to be known as Best of Shelbyville dog or mutt in addition to their given names.

The Shelbyville Fire Department will also be on the square with a fire truck which children may explore.

Sponsored by the Uptown Merchants Association, proceeds from the day's events will benefit Refreshing Young Men, a local organization founded by Cannon, which helps young men with the cost of tuxedo rentals at prom time.