CANCELED: Southwest Arbor Fest celebrates Earth & Grand Junction’s festival season |

CANCELED: Southwest Arbor Fest celebrates Earth & Grand Junction’s festival season

Brittany Markert
Dozens of children's activities are planned for the 14th annual Southwest Arbor Festival in Grand Junction's Lincoln Park.
Submitted photo |


WHAT: Southwest Arbor Festival

WHEN: Saturday, April 18, noon to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Lincoln Park, Grand Junction

COST: Free


This event is canceled due to standing water in Lincoln Park.

Sheryl Harmon, a Grand Junction resident, has been cooking her award-winning green chili since the 1990s. She only started competing in the 14th annual Southwest Arbor Festival two years ago, and she has won consecutively since. She only won in the panel-judged competition portion, however. Now she’s set her sights on another prize.

“If there was a category I want to really win, it would be the People’s Choice,” Harmon said. “I’m not doing it for the prize money. It’s a friendly competition, and I am in it more for the bragging rights and to have fun.”

Harmon will be joined by a variety of competitors at Southwest Arbor Festival this year, which is planned for Saturday, April 18, at Lincoln Park from noon to 5 p.m. The chili cook-off is one of many events scheduled during the Earth-friendly event.

Lorie Gregor, the event organizer, encourages everyone to enter into Southwest’s chili competition, as slots are still available. Last year, the chili competition hosted 12 participants. This year so far only nine have signed up.

“People come to the park and pay $5 for samples of competition chili, [then they] cast their votes for their favorites,” she said.

Winners of the panel-judged and People’s Choice awards win $100 each.

A salsa competition will also take place, and first-place winners will receive $100 as well. Last year’s event hosted seven salsa entries, and this year it’s increased to eight entries.

The chili and salsa contests cost $15 to enter; it is open to all abilities, from professional to amateur.

Harmon noted that those interested in competing should bring enough chili to last the whole day. Last year, she made seven to eight gallons, and she didn’t bring any leftovers home.

Presentation is key when it comes to the competition, Harmon added. She offered condiments for folks to add to the chili, including shredded cheese.

“I try to keep it at a medium-heat so most everyone can try it,” she said.

Other activities at Southwest Arbor Festival include music from The Conifer, JACK+JILL, and Toaster, Earth Day vendors and free tree seedlings. Arborists will be on site to chat about lawn issues.

There will a last-man-standing jalapeno-eating contest, too, and the winner will receive $100.

“It’s a kick-off for the festival season in the Grand Valley,” Gregor said. “It’s family friendly, free and a good way to enjoy a beautiful day at Lincoln Park.”

A brew festival will take place during the event as well. Entry costs $20 per person, ages 21 and older. Participating breweries include Copper Club Brewing Company, Kannah Creek Brewing Company, Palisade Brewing Company, Two Rascals Brewing Company, Suds Brothers Brewery, Black Bottle Brewery, Big B’s Hard Cider and Boulder Beer.

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