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Top tips on how to do Carbondale Mountain Fair

Longtime Carbondale Mountain Fair volunteer and partaker Jeff Dickinson offers two ways to do the fair if you want to maximize the number of old friends you bump into or new people to meet — which, let’s face it, is a good bit of what Mountain Fair is about.

“You can either stay in one spot and let everyone come to you, or you can move around and try to see everybody who’s staying in one spot,” says Dickinson, who these days helps run the Cantina.

Speaking of which, the Cantina, with its array of beer selections and drink specialties, is a good place for reunions and making a new acquaintance or two.

There’s also the food vendor lines, the dancing area in front of the gazebo stage, and of course that chance meeting on Main Street.

However you choose to do Mountain Fair, though, get ready to have fun, take your mind off things and see and hear some stuff you don’t see and hear too often. 

If you go…

Carbondale Mountain Fair Select Events

Friday

Noon — All vendors open

4 p.m. — Opening blessing and community drum circle

5:15 p.m. — Music: Red Hill Rollers

6:45 p.m. — Sopris Soarers aerial dance

7:45 p.m. — Music: Death by Dub

Saturday

7 a.m. — Mt. Sopris Runoff (14 mile) and 4 Mile to the Fair runs

10 a.m. — Vendors open, performance by Crystal River Ballet

10:30 a.m. — Fly casting competition

11 a.m. — Pie baking competition

11:30 a.m. — Music: Queen Bees

Noon — Singles horseshoes (Glassier Park)

1 p.m. — Adult limbo contest

2:15 p.m. — Carbondale Police vs. Fire Department Tug-O-War

2:30 p.m. — Music: Elk Range Bluegrass Band

4 p.m. — Womens Wood Splitting competition; Salsa dance lesson at the Makers’ Park

5 p.m. — Sopris Soarers tribute to mothers

5:15 p.m. — Music: Los Mocochetes

6 p.m. — Potters Throwdown Relay, judging canopy

7:45 p.m. — Music: Magic Bean

9:30 p.m. — Dance of the Sacred Fire fire dancers

Sunday

8 a.m. — Porcupine Loop mountain bike race and costume contest

8:30 a.m. — Group yoga in Sopris Park

10 a.m. — Vendors open

11 a.m. — Music: Tarell Martin and C2 Mass Choir Gospel; Cake baking competition

Noon — Doubles horseshoes (Glassier Park)

1:30 p.m. — Sopris Soarers aerial dance

2:15 p.m. — DJ Music: Grim Nymph

2:45 p.m. — Music: Kid Astronaut

4:15 p.m. — Men’s Wood Splitting competition

5:15 p.m. — Singer-Songwriter contest winner performs

5:30 p.m. — Music closer: Ozomatli

*For the full schedule of events, visit carbondalearts.com/mountain-fair, or pick up a hard copy at the gate

For those first-timers wondering how best to take in Mountain Fair — the three-day arts performance and visual arts spectacle that takes place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Sopris Park — just ask the many locals who help make it happen year after year for some sound advice.

Here are five things to consider to make your Mountain Fair experience the best it can be. 

Getting there

A contestant sees how low he can go during the limbo competition at the 48th annual Carbondale Mountain Fair in 2019.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

If you live in Carbondale, or happen to be staying in town for the weekend, your best transportation bet is to walk or bike.

Vehicle parking is limited, though there are some good options for those who arrive early in the day, and at least one good paid option for a good cause — the Mt. Sopris Nordic Council parking lot at the Colorado Mountain College Lappala Center at Seventh Street and Colorado Avenue.

“Bike is the No. 1 best way to get there,” said Bob Schultz, another longtime Mountain Fair volunteer. “Even if you drive, if you have a bike rack, bring the bike.”

Bike corrals are located off of Seventh Street near the town pool and on Weant Boulevard behind the Forest Service building, noted Sarah Overbeck, communications director for Carbondale Arts, which puts on Mountain Fair. 

Those coming from out of town also should consider taking a RFTA bus to Carbondale.

“Especially if you plan to be partaking in the Cantina offerings, I’d say take the bus,” Dickinson said. 

As was the case last year, the Mountain Fair footprint expands onto Main Street again this year, meaning the downtown section will be closed between Fourth and Seventh streets starting at 8 a.m. Friday until 9 p.m. Sunday.

Also, leave dogs and other pets at home, not in your car, and definitely don’t bring them to the park. Dogs and glass containers are not allowed in the park.

Bring water in your own bottle, too. There are water filling stations located throughout the park. 

Hanging out

Scenes from the 48th annual Carbondale Mountain Fair Rhythm of the Heart Community Drum Circle in 2019.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

While Mountain Fair doesn’t have a “tarp run” when the gates open like big music festivals, there is a little bit of jockeying for position to get the prime “hang out spot” in front of the gazebo.

“It is a day-by-day thing,” said longtime Mountain Fair Director Amy Kimberly. “We don’t allow tarps or blankets to stay overnight, so those have to be removed at the end of the day.”

Fair goers can set out blankets and low-profile chairs (not the high-back variety) and umbrellas starting at 3 p.m. Friday, but keep in mind you’ll need to leave room for the community drum circle at 4 p.m.

Mountain Fair no longer has a shade tent lottery, but a community shade tent is provided on the Euclid Avenue side of the park.

“Afternoon is when the sun is most direct, so that’s usually the hottest part of the day,” Schultz said. “But there is a nice row of big trees on the west side of the park that provide some nice shade later in the afternoon.

“If you do go over to the shade tent, be nice and give up a seat for someone who may need it more than you,” he also advised.

Dickinson suggested volunteering to help out with one of the many duties necessary to keep the fair running smoothly.

Contest watching

A wood splitting contestant grabs all of his pieces of wood for hopes of the best time during the competition at the 48th annual Carbondale Mountain Fair in 2019.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Again, there’s always a little jockeying for position to get the prime spots to watch the most popular Mountain Fair contests, especially men’s and women’s wood splitting and limbo.

New to the contest lineup this year is the Potters Relay Throwdown at 6 p.m. Saturday in the judging canopy, where teams of clay workers will try to be the fastest to work the potting wheel. 

Timing is everything to head over to the open space for the big contests before whatever band is playing wraps up, or maybe draw straws to dispatch someone to head over and grab a patch of grass.

“People are pretty good about letting little kids wiggle up front to watch,” said Schultz, offering another piece of etiquette advice — short people up front, tall people in back.

“If you really want to see the wood splitting, get there early and hang out for a while,” Dickinson said. “It’s good to pick which bands and contests you really want to see, and plan accordingly.”

It’s also important to take breaks from the heat, he said.

“Hydrate and have plenty of sunscreen handy,” Dickinson said. “Even if you don’t feel like you’re doing much, just wandering around the park takes a lot out of you.”

A reprieve to a downtown restaurant or watering hole is also a good way to get out of the weather, be it sunshine or rain, he suggested.

Community radio station KDNK also broadcasts live from the park all weekend, so it’s possible to listen to the music from the comfort of your home for a spell before heading back out.

Vendor shopping

Longtime director Amy Kimberly opens the 48th annual Carbondale Mountain Fair in 2019. Kimberly will be stepping down from the position after this year.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The arts and crafts and food vendors open at noon on Friday, before the rest of the fair gets going in earnest.

Smart shoppers know that’s the best time to hit the many arts and crafts vendors that will be on hand for Mountain Fair.

“That’s the best time to shop, because the park is still relatively quiet,” Kimberly said. “Anytime during the weekend is also good to go by the Carbondale Arts silent auction booth for some of the best deals.”

Saturday and Sunday mornings are also popular times to do some serious shopping before the crowds come out and before the heat or rain storms hit.

Last year, organizers made the decision to space the booths apart a little farther and to place some out on Main Street and Weant Boulevard. That also helped people feel more comfortable given pandemic concerns.

As Schultz puts it, “We may be done with COVID, but COVID is not done with us. It’s still good to spread out so the people who want a little space can still come to the fair.”

Vendors can also be found in the Makers Park at Main and Sixth streets, which is also where the silent auction and the valley artists booths are located.

Fair food

Mountain Fair is known for having a good mix of favorite festival food and some unique eats to keep the taste buds happy and the energy level up.

The most popular booths tend to have long lines, especially later in the day around supper time.

“If the line for your favorite fair food is long, try something a little out of your comfort zone,” Dickinson suggested. “You might just learn about a food you didn’t know you liked.”

Those lines can be a great place to meet and chat with people, too, Schultz said.

“It’s actually a pretty social time,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of new people in town and people visiting from out of town just waiting for my food.”

For those wanting to enjoy a beer or other alcoholic drink with their food, Dickinson suggests hitting the Cantina first and sipping the drink while in the food line, instead of the other way around.

Also, if you don’t want to lose track of the kids for long stretches of time, give them only a little bit of money for food, snacks, games and such at a time. 

“That way they’ll always come back and find you,” he said.

Mountain Fair is also big on using compostable plates and utensils to minimize waste.

“So we need people to be mindful of sorting your waste at the trash stations,” Overbeck added.

The Cantina is also run by different community nonprofit organizations that get to keep a portion of the proceeds from their shifts. Beverages are all sourced from Colorado.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Creole Stomp brings Bayou flavors to Summer of Music Wednesday night

Dennis Stroughtmatt & Creole Stomp come to Glenwood Springs tonight to play the next in the Summer of Music Series at Two Rivers Park. Opening is Zin Zin, starting at 6:30 p.m.| Courtesy photo

Arts & Entertainment briefs for the weekend of June 24

Music on the Mountain series begins

The Saturday Music on the Mountain series kicks off Saturday at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, featuring a performance by Dance of the Sacred Fire and music from the Gasoline Lollipops.

Music takes place from 6-9 p.m. every Saturday (except July 2 and Sept. 3) through Sept. 17 for the enjoyment of park visitors who purchase a daily or seasonal pass. 

More information at glenwoodcaverns.com/events/music-on-the-mountain.

Children’s chorale performs June 25-26 in Glenwood

The Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale is celebrating its 45th anniversary year with a concert tour, including two free performances at the First Presbyterian Church in Glenwood Springs, at 7 p.m. Saturday and during 10 a.m. Sunday worship.

The renowned choir features 38 elementary, middle and high school student singers.

The concert is free, but donations to support the chorale and First Presbyterian Church’s local outreach programs are welcome.

For more information, visit childrenschorale.org or glenwoodspringsfpc.org or call 970-945-6340.

The Pullman offers ‘family meal’ tradition, to go, for service-industry employees

Mark Fischer wants to keep a service-industry tradition intact, even if it requires a few modifications.

For as long as The Pullman’s owner and chef can remember, the restaurant’s hosts, servers, bartenders, cooks and dishwashers have always enjoyed a pre-shift meal together before working the dinner rush.

“It’s a tradition that most restaurants share,” Fischer said. “Even though we can’t all sit down together this weekend, we can at least make food for people to take.”

On Tuesday, a state public health order forced restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters and casinos to close for 30 days in an effort to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

Food and beverage establishments, however, can still offer takeout and delivery during the mandatory closure period.

On March 21 and 22, The Pullman will provide a “family meal” to restaurant, bar and hotel workers whose industry — like so many others — has been significantly impacted by the pandemic.

While the original intent of the family meal was to provide a semblance of the tradition to service-industry workers, Fischer said The Pullman would help anyone in need.

“I think that most people that work in this business know what family is and what it means,” Fischer said.

People can pick up a family meal at The Pullman’s side door on the corner of Seventh Street and Cooper Avenue in downtown Glenwood Springs from 2-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“I’ve got a full walk-in (refrigerator) and a bunch of people that we’re trying to keep busy,” Fischer said. “This might be a good way to manage both.”

Fischer said The Pullman was adhering to the state’s public health order and asked those picking up food to do the same.

Pasta with a side of soup or salad was the tentative plan for this weekend’s family meal.

People picking up food can also leave a $5 donation that will go toward future installments of the tradition.

However, Fischer said the family meal would be free for those who needed it to be.

Additionally, a gofundme page has been created for community members that would like to help keep the tradition intact.

As of Friday morning, the gofundme had already raised $1,325 of its $5,000 goal.

The Pullman, like many other restaurants and drinking establishments, will still offer curbside pickup and delivery too.

“There are people that need to eat and we have food that I would really like to make tasty,” Fischer said.

mabennett@postindependent.com

Local restaurants hoping to get by with takeout and delivery

Editor’s note: the Post Independent started an online directory of restaurants and breweries offering carryout or delivery options. Go here for the current list, which is being updated daily.

Coloradans love dining out.

For the next 30 days, though, breaking bread at eateries across the state has been put on hold in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

On Monday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a public health order, which forced restaurants, bars, theaters, gyms and casinos to close, with a few exceptions.

Those establishments may still sell food and beverages but must do so by utilizing either “delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service or drive-up service” according to the public health order that went into effect Tuesday morning.

Sarah Martinez, who helps run her family’s restaurant — Spanglish Mexican American Kitchen — in Glenwood Springs said the transition from sit-down service to only carryout and delivery was difficult but manageable.

“This great community is willing to support and help each other and that makes me feel really good,” Martinez said. “We will make it through.”

Spanglish Mexican American Kitchen, like many other Glenwood eateries, has partnered with KraveKar to offer delivery.

Courtney Madden, who launched KraveKar last year, said the local food delivery service offers a “no contact delivery” option.

“We put (deliveries) on someone’s porch or we can put it wherever they ask us to put it,” Madden said. “Then we can call and say the food is there.”

Similar to the services provided by DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub in larger cities, KraveKar offers delivery to the Glenwood Springs area.

KraveKar makes deliveries daily between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Customers can also place orders in advance on kravekar.com or through the KraveKar app.

“Every month we go up 20 or 30 orders. This month we went up about 65 orders,” Madden said.

Tuesday, the Pour House in Carbondale was still busy preparing corned beef and cabbage to-go orders for St. Patrick’s Day.

“We’ve sold a few, maybe about 30,” bartender Tim O’Rourke said around 3:30 p.m. as word was just getting around as to which restaurants were offering takeout.

Across the street, Batch, the Roaring Fork Beer Co.’s tap house, was selling growlers of beer out the front door.

Aly Sanguily owner of Batch in downtown Carbondale, was selling growlers of local Roaring Fork Beer Co. brews out the front door on Tuesday.
John Stroud/Post Independent

“Because we don’t serve food, and only have beer, luckily we’re able to do this,” Owner Aly Sanguily said, adding how other brewers and distillers would have the same option.

“Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to do anything,” Sanguily said.

At Miner’s Claim in Silt, owner Christian Harra pledged to include a roll of toilet paper in each of the restaurant’s to-go orders, as supplies last. 

“I ordered five cases of toilet paper, which is about 500 rolls,” Harra said. “Angel Soft.”

Harra’s original intent was to give rolls to dine-in customers on St. Patrick’s Day.

However, with dine-in service no longer on the table, Harra will place a roll in each to-go order instead.

According to Harra, Miner’s Claim did over 50 to-go orders on Monday night.

“My staff is amazing. I’ve got employees here that have been with me 17 years,” Harra said. “We’re like a big family and we’re all pulling together.”

mabennett@postindependent.com

Glenwood Springs Post Independent Senior Reporter John Stroud contributed to this report.

Discounted tickets could be offered to school groups wanting to visit Hanging Lake

Pending approval from Glenwood Springs City Council, teachers will be able to bring their classes to Hanging Lake for a reduced rate of $3 per student beginning in May.

The discount won’t apply to individual students wanting to visit the national natural landmark just east of Glenwood Springs on their own, but rather classes as a whole.

“Hanging Lake has so many different educational components,” said Ken Murphy, H2O Ventures co-owner. “It’s teaching about protecting a resource, the geology of Glenwood Canyon and the uniqueness of the public-private partnership.”

Last year, the U.S. Forest Service and city of Glenwood Springs awarded H2O Ventures the contract to run the Hanging Lake shuttle service, which launched May 1.

The seasonal shuttle service was part of a larger permit-reservation system, which capped the number of visitors to Hanging Lake to 615-people per day.

The price for a peak-season reservation from May 1 – Oct. 31 costs $12 per person and includes a shuttle to the trailhead. An off-peak reservation from Nov. 1 – Apr. 30 costs $10 per person.

According to Murphy, the discounted rate would apply to elementary school classes all the way up to students pursuing a higher-education degree.

The reduced rate will be available to classes Monday through Friday during May, September and October.

“Anytime we can reduce barriers for children to be able to experience the outdoors and a natural wonder like Hanging Lake, we should take it,” Mayor Jonathan Godes said.

Based on the number of visitors to Hanging Lake during the 2019 peak season, Murphy was confident the trail could accommodate the additional field trips.

According to Murphy, in May 2019 the trail had a daily average of 327 hikers. Additionally, during September and October the trail had a daily average of 357 and 217 hikers respectively.

“I support the discount,” Councilor Charlie Willman said. “I think it’s good and am glad we are able to offer it.”

According to the contract, in order for educators to be able to utilize the student discount, the field trip must have an educational component.

Additionally, student discount tickets must be purchased through the school hosting the trip and may not be purchased online.

“Nobody is generating revenue from these school groups or these educational components,” Murphy said. “Part of that $3 also goes back into the resource.”

mabennett@postindependent.com

‘Art you can drink:’ Ball Brewing gets rolling in Glenwood Springs

After working as a sport fishing boat captain for the last 15-years, Bobby Ball decided it was time to change course.

“I got paid to fish,” Ball said. “If I can get paid to drink beer I feel like I’m doing pretty good.”

On Super Bowl Sunday, the 37-year-old brewer opened Ball Brewing at 7025 Highway 82 in south Glenwood Springs in the former Habitat for Humanity ReStore location next to Anytime Fitness.

Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven-days-a-week, Ball Brewing sports a handful of big-screen TVs, “Pirates of the Caribbean” pinball, foosball, shuffleboard and other games.

“The skee ball machine, actually, if you get 400 points it’ll give you a ticket for a free pint of beer,” Ball said.

A lover of both domestic and craft beers, Ball set out to offer suds with a slightly lower alcohol content without compromising flavor or aroma.

“What I’m doing is brewing beer that I like and that’s easy to drink,” Ball said. “It fits the bill with the domestic crowd and the people getting into craft beer.”

Currently, Ball Brewing has several beers and hard seltzers on tap.

From the tropical pale ale Captain Ron to the single-hop IPA Amarillo By Morning, if it’s on Ball Brewing’s beer list, it was brewed in-house.

“I want people to be able to have my beer when it’s 90 degrees outside and they’re working or during the wintertime when it’s cold,” Ball said.

Ball Brewing does not offer food at the moment, but customers can purchase growlers and six-packs to go.

Additionally, Ball Brewing carries the necessary supplies for those interested in learning how to brew their own beer or wine at home.

“That’s how I started,” Ball said of home brewing. “We want to promote people learning to do it themselves, also.”

According to Ball, in the near future Ball Brewing will offer classes centered on home brewing a few weekends each month.

It was also Ball’s hope that his brewery, taproom and homebrew supply store would function less as a “traditional bar” and more as a social gathering spot for the community at large.

From of-age college students in need of wi-fi to basketball fans eager for March Madness, whatever the occasion Ball said he had a libation for it.

“Beer is art you can drink,” said Ball. “There’s a beer for every occasion and I feel like there is a beer for every person.”

mabennett@postindependent.com

Frida Authentic Mexican Food Restaurant opens in Glenwood Springs

Jose Luis Rico has lived in mountain towns and worked in Mexican restaurants for the better part of his life.

After owning and operating El Pollo Rico in Carbondale for 16 years, the restauranteur and his wife Emma Rico recently opened their second eatery in the Roaring Fork Valley – Frida Authentic Mexican Food.

Located at 1814 Grand Ave., near Sayre Park in Glenwood Springs, Frida welcomes customers for lunch and dinner seven-days-a-week.

Raised in Michoacan, Mexico, it was there that Jose Rico learned the ingredients that go into authentic Mexican recipes while working alongside his mother Argelia and father Alberto in their restaurant, Argelia’s Senaduria.

“Every chef has their own taste and their own dishes,” Jose Rico said. “But, you’re still going to find tacos, carne asada and chile relleno.”

Like the colorful dishes that emerge from Frida’s kitchen, the dining area’s flashy booths, flowers and mariachi figurines make for an equally colorful ambiance.

After all, Jose and Emma Rico named Frida after legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

“[Frida] is part of our culture,” Jose Rico said. “And, we were looking for a name everyone could pronounce.”

While Frida’s menu offers an assortment of seafood, steak, chicken, pork and vegetarian options, the Ricos – throughout their tenure in restaurants – have never looked past the “easier dishes.”

“If a customer asks for chile relleno, it’s got to be good. If a customer asks for enchiladas, it’s got to be good,” Jose Rico said.

Ironically, the Ricos said chicken enchiladas were the most popular menu item at Frida since the restaurant opened in December.

Other customer favorites included: chile relleno, pork and green chili burritos, fajitas, fish tacos, homemade tamales and fried ice cream.

“We’ve been practicing these dishes for 16 years,” Emma Rico said.

Additionally, Frida’s bar offers frozen and on-the-rocks margaritas made with specialty tequila and fresh limes.

Well aware of the large number of Mexican restaurants already in Glenwood Springs, Rico said he was not looking to compete but instead hoped Frida’s cuisine would complement the city’s already thriving dining culture.

“We have two communities here; we have the Anglo community and the Hispanic community,” Jose Rico said. “We’ve been working so hard over the years trying to make great food for everybody.”

For more information please visit

https://www.loc8nearme.com/colorado/glenwood-springs/frida-authentic-mexican-food/5502853/

mabennett@postindependent.com

New Castle Diner closes, at least for the time being

For New Castle Diner owner David Souders, the end of 2019 was bittersweet.

After owning and operating the Diner for nearly a decade, Souders decided it was time to move on.

“I am just feeling tired,” Souders said. “And, I wanted to go out on top.”

On Dec. 27 the New Castle Diner served its last meal — at least for the time being.

Souders, who rents the space at 820 Castle Valley Blvd. in New Castle near City Market, said he plans on selling the business.

“It was a turnkey operation,” Souders said of when he purchased the eatery in 2010. “I own everything that is in here; the landlord just has the building.”

From the neon-lit memorabilia to the red-and-white barstools and soda fountain, Souders plans on selling the ’50s-themed diner just like he bought it — ready to rock and roll.

“I have somebody now that is supposed to be interested,” Souders said. “I can’t guarantee [anything] because we’ve just talked a few times.”

New Castle Diner owner David Souders sits at the eatery’s bar after working his final shift. Matthew Bennett / Post Independent
IMG_1352

Having worked in restaurants practically his entire life, Souders said the 14- to 18-hour days of cooking and cleaning had taken its toll.

“I love my staff,” Souders said. “That was the hardest part.”

As for Souders, the New Castle resident said he had no plans other than to take some time off.

“I’m all finished. I’m moving on,” Souders said. “I don’t know what I’m doing; no plans … it’s all going to take its place and work out.”

According to Souders, over the years, the Diner’s most popular dishes were its biscuits and gravy and huevos rancheros.

mabennett@postindependent.com

Silt’s chili cook-off heats up Friday

When the new Silt Branch Library opened in 2012, the plaza between it and town hall quickly became a coveted community space.

“It just seemed like we should have events there,” Janet Aluise, town of Silt community development director, said. “One of our staff members said that she had been to a chili cook-off in another locale and mentioned it about eight-years-ago so we got to work planning it, and it’s been going strong ever since.”

This year’s chili cook-off, put on by the town of Silt, will take place Friday, Nov. 1 from 5-8 p.m. in the town hall/library plaza.

Several participants from Silt and neighboring communities will each prepare at least three gallons of red or green chili for attendees to sample.

“It’s not a tremendously serious competition, but there is some seriously good chili at the plaza,” Aluise said.

As of Thursday morning, Aluise said 10 chili cook-off competitors had signed up for Friday’s event but expected a few more entrants.

“We fill the plaza and sometimes it’s just packed,” Aluise said. “Other times it’s just a great event with a couple hundred people.”

Tasting fees are $7 for adults, $4 for kids between the ages of six and 17 and $4 for adults 62 and over. Additionally, chili cookers pay an entry fee of $20.

Fees allow attendees to sample both red and green chilis.
The event offers free coffee, water and hot chocolate as well as beer for purchase.

Local Girl Scout Troop 244 will offer baked goods for sale as part of its fundraising efforts, too.

“Any nonprofit gets to enter for free because that’s the least we can do for our nonprofits,” Aluise said. “Most every year we’ve had the Girl Scouts making chili or putting on a bake sale and it’s nice because it allows the community to see how hard these girls work.”

This year’s chili cook-off will also feature a DJ courtesy of Two Rivers Productions as well as a kids’ tent equipped with foosball, table tennis, basketball and skee-ball.

“It’s just an area that the kids can escape to if they’re not into chili, which some kids aren’t,” Aluise said.

Aluise recalled one year when the temperature dipped to nearly zero degrees, however a couple hundred attendees still showed up for the annual chili cook-off.

“Having it as an outdoor event definitely gives it some flavor,” Aluise said.
One of this year’s chili cook-off competitors includes Silt resident, Lindsey Sidener.

“I hear the fire department puts out a really good chili every year, so we’ve got some stiff competition,” Sidener said.

Sidener planned on utilizing locally sourced vegetables from Peach Valley CSA Farm, local brisket and a few other secret ingredients for her red chili.
Six cash prizes will go to the top three red and green chili concoctions, as determined by a handful of judges.

“The prize for first place in each category is $175. Second place is $100 and third place is $50,” Aluise said. “We’ve had the whole gamut. We’ve had the young cookers come out, and they’ve never done an event before, and then we’ve had the people who are seasoned and have done several events.”
“It’s just a great social event.”

mabennett@postindependent.com