St. Croix's Chili Cook-Off starts Sunday at noon
Published: August 9, 2013
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ST. CROIX - United Way of St. Croix's largest fundraiser of the year - the annual Chili Cook-Off - is only days away.
Beginning at noon and running through 9 p.m. Sunday at the Divi Carina Bay Resort, the 12th annual event is expected to draw a crowd from all over the island and across the territory to raise funds for the organization and a number of non-profits that are supported by the event.
Gates for the cook-off open at noon, but the chefs will be bubbling their pots from just after sunrise at 6 a.m. to ensure that everything is cooked to perfection for the judges and hundreds of chili fans who will come out to sample their creative recipes.
United Way President Anita Davila said this is the first year that the event has been moved from April to August and with the move, they are hoping that the cook-off will give the island potential for tourist activity and travel between the islands at this quiet time of year. She said St. Thomas' Texas Society chili event will take place next weekend and there are teams who have come from Texas to participate in both events.
Davila said prizes will be awarded to the top chili cooks and top vegetarian chili cooks; and prizes for "showmanship" also will be awarded for the top three most attractive entries.
She said one winner will move on to the national chili cook-off in Terlingua, Texas, with airfare, RV rental and the entrance fee included to represent St. Croix at that competition.
Entertainment during the event will include mechanical bull riding, as well as music provided by Chuck Wicks, Greg Bates, Joanna Smith, Joe Denim and Shelley Skidmore out of Nashville, Tenn., along with the World Famous Xpress Band.
Davila said she was unsure about the support she would receive for the event following the closing of HOVENSA last year, but the community has really stepped up to the plate to offer services and products to ensure the event is a huge success and that the maximum amount of funds are raised.
The team entry fee is $35, which guarantees a 10-foot by 10-foot spot on the beach that teams can decorate any way they want to lure in the crowd to sample their chili. Each team gets a case of Coors Light Beer and other gifts from sponsors.
All chili being judged must be cooked on the beach, and ingredients will be inspected before cooking, Davila said. Chili can be cooked with meat, turkey, pork, chicken and fish.
Chili being served to the public can be cooked ahead of the competition.
Davila said she is really excited by the number of volunteers who have turned out to help out as judges, bar attendants and for T-shirt and ticket sales.
For more information about entering or volunteering, call 718-1780, 513-8359 or 718-0582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.