DUBUQUE – Well, it’s fall again, and there is something special in the air. It’s the smell of the annual Largest Tri-State Chili Cook-Off, which was held last weekend to help with the “chili” weather.
The Cook-Off, in its twenty-third year, was held at Cable Car Square at the corner of Fourth and Bluff Streets in Dubuque, attracting contestants and visitors from a wide range of places.
The event included the Chili Appreciation Society Inc.’s (CASI) competition, as well as children’s games such as bouncy houses, locations to watch TV sports, and concessions including popcorn and hot dogs. CASI’s competition involved specific rules for the contestants, and had judges examining each booth and chili for the “best bowl.” Those who won the cook-off in Dubuque could then go on to regional competitions, and from there to perhaps national and international competitions.
The crowd favorite, though, was the chili taste-test.
Teri Connely, the coordinator for the event, talked about the taste-test, saying, “It’s free to come to the event, to purchase a spoon is five dollars, and you can eat as much chili until it runs out….” Beginning at one in the afternoon, the taste-testing, which also allowed people to purchase tickets to vote for their favorite recipes, drew large crowds to the cook-off.
All the proceeds of the cook-off went to benefit the Hills and Dales Society of Dubuque, which aids children and adults with special needs. As a part of their program, they are using the money for the 9-1-1 Christmas, in which local emergency services give presents to the children, and for general improvements such as new playground equipment.
If you wanted to just come for the chili, that’s okay too.