By Dustin Morton
A winter chili cook-off has become a tradition in Vicksburg over nine years. This year, the event is moving to the community pavilion in the Vicksburg Historic Village. “We wanted to take advantage of some of the features our beautiful town has to offer,” said Mandy Miller, event chair for the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce. “Being at the pavilion ties all the day’s activities together.”
On March 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., local area restaurants will offer up their favorite recipes for visitors to taste and judge. While new entrants can still contact the Chamber to be included, past participants have included Apple Knockers, Main Street Pub, Taco Bobs and Jaspare’s Pizza. This year, the Chamber anticipates eight vendors offering chili styles ranging from traditional beef and beans to tasty white chicken chili and even local game meats.
Even though the event was moved to the beginning of March from early February, weather always plays a factor in outdoor events. The Chamber plans to provide temporary shelter from wind, rain or snow by enclosing most of the pavilion and if necessary, bringing heaters to offset the chill.
Admission to the event is free. Tickets for food items and drinks are 50 cents each. Plan to spend $5 a person for samples, snacks and drinks, Miller said. A new and welcome addition to the cook-off is being provided by the Distant Whistle Brewhouse, with two styles of beer offered for purchase. Beer will be available for $3 a 12-ounce pour. Throughout the day, attendees will be treated to live classic rock music provided by local favorite Bill Johnson.
Kicking off the chili cook-off will be the Vicksburg Chamber Chili Dash 5K under the management of Donna Cratsenburg-Scott, who also manages the Glow Race 5K here in Vicksburg. The Dash will start and end at the Pavilion and use the Vicksburg recreation trail. Registration is $25 and is being handled online from now until March 2 at http://www.runsignup.com, where full details about the 5K may be found. Late and in-person registration begins at 9:30 a.m. the day of the race.
The schedule for the day is as follows:
9:30 a.m. – Late/In-Person 5K Registration ($30 fee)
10:30 a.m. – 5K begins
11 a.m. – Chili Cook-Off begins
Noon to 3 p.m. – music by Bill Johnson
3 p.m. – Event ends
The Chili Cook-Off and Chili Dash 5K is hosted by the Vicksburg Area Chamber of Commerce, who uses its proceeds to fund future events such as the Taste of Vicksburg. Interested sponsors and volunteers may contact the Chamber at email@example.com.