New chili cookoff kicks off Best Week of Fall

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By Chris McGinn

Calling all chili lovers! The first Carolinas Chili Championship will be held Sept. 28-29 as part of the Best Week of Fall.  
This event is sanctioned by the International Chili Society (ICS), so winners are eligible to compete in the World Championship Chili Cookoff.
Besides the chili cookoff, additional events at McClancy Corp. headquarters, 8746 Charlotte Highway, that day include a cornhole tournament, VFW car show, pancake breakfast, charity walk and poker run motorcycle ride.
“The momentum is starting to build,” said event director Jessica Threatt.
Professional chili cooks, local businesses, nonprofits and individuals are beginning to register for the event. The organizers expect nearly 90 cook teams to participate, including 40 professional chili teams.
Competitors will fight it out in sanctioned categories, in-cluding red chili, chili verde, homestyle chili and veggie chili. See the website for official rules and details.
An open “anything goes” category is also available for individuals, charities and businesses.
Prizes for people’s choice and showmanship, including costumes, crowd engagement and creativity, will also be awarded.
Chili cooks will also be invited to a private chili event on Sept. 29.
Entry deadline for cooks is Sept. 20 and entry fees begin at $35 per category. Cash prizes will be awarded.
Visitors to the main event can get an all-day access pass and tasting kit for $12 at the gate or at a discounted rate prior to the event. The kit includes an individual spoon to taste unlimited 2-ounce samples from any chili tent. They also get a people’s choice token to award to their favorite cook.
Throughout the day, musical guests Charity Case, Whits End, Hawthornes and Abby K will perform.
There will also be a hot pepper eating contest for the brave.
The championship is looking for 150 volunteer judges to sample each entry and judge, based on flavoring, texture, consistency, spice blend and aroma. If you are interested in judging, contact Threatt at chilijessica21@gmail.com.
Volunteer opportunities are also available for ages 12 and older. including event set-up and take-down, greeting visitors and more.
Sponsorship opportunities are also still available. These include tickets to the event, as well as event space for a cooking team. Sponsors are also invited to partner with local nonprofits to allow them to participate as well.
For more information and levels, visit www.carolinaschilichampionship.com/sponsor-levels.
“The goal of the event is to promote charitable organizations, schools, businesses and other groups within the Indian Land community and Lancaster County,” Threatt said.
“We want this to be a staple event for years to come for the Indian Land community.”
For more information, visit www.carolinaschilichampionship.com.

Schedule of events Sept. 28

The Carolinas Chili Championship is open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Public tasting begins at 11 a.m.
• 9 a.m. VFW Honor Our Heroes Car Show
• 10:30 a.m. Opening ceremony
• 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Olde English District motorcycle ride
• 11 a.m. SunCity Strong prewalk
• 11 a.m. Public tasting begins
• 11 a.m. Cultivate Health Cornhole Tournament begins
• 12:30 p.m. Hot pepper tasting contest
• 12:45 p.m. Whits End performs
• 2:30 p.m. Abby K performs
• 4:30 p.m. Winners announcement
• 6 p.m. Charity Case performs
This is a tentative schedule. See www.carolinaschilichampionship.com for updates.