That’s according to Jimmy Wiseman, first vice president of the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is hosting the sixth annual celebration of all things chili this Saturday in Gallipolis City Park.
“The cooks have to have three gallons of chili ready to serve by 11 a.m.,” Wiseman said. “Then they must prepare two gallons while they’re (in the park) and submit a pint at four o’clock to be judged.”
The pint that will be judged must be straight chili with no filler. All other chili can contain whatever filler the cooks bring with them.
Wiseman said brats, hot dogs and Bob Evans chili will also be served beginning at 11 a.m.
So far, six chili cooks from the local area have registered to engage in culinary conflict for the top three cash prizes. The list of entrants to date includes Larry Fellure, Grandma Chili, O’Dell Lumber, Ed Clary, Witch’s Brew and Sunny 93.
“I anticipate that there will be more cooks,” said Lorie Neal, executive director of the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce. “I think people are waiting until the last minute to sign up.”
Wiseman said the first prize is $500. The runnerup cook takes home $300 and third place receives $200.
The People’s Choice Award winner will receive $100 and the Best Themed Booth nets a $50 cash prize.
Wiseman and Neal said they hope Chili Fest 2009 will be as successful as the 2008 version, which drew about 14 cooks and a nice crowd to Gallipolis City Park.
“It’s a good way for folks to promote their businesses,” Wiseman said. “The majority of our cooks over the years have been from local businesses.”
Neal said the major sponsors for this year’s event are Ohio Valley Bank and Classic Brands of Chillicothe. Other sponsors on board so far include SuddenLink, Rent 2 Own, Sunny 93.1, Red’s Rollen Garage, Big River Electric, Family Oxygen, John Sang Ford and Pepsi. She said she hopes to enlist a few more business partners before Saturday.
The registration fee for French City Chili Fest is $25. Forms can be filled out at the chamber office, 16 State Street in Gallipolis.
Booths for other vendors are available for a $20 fee. Each exhibitor will will have access to a 10-foot-by-10-foot space.
Neal said the Baby Belle Pepper Contest, open to kids ranging from newborns to age 4, is scheduled for noon Saturday. The registration fee is $5.00.
The Little Miss and Mister Chili Pepper Contest is set for 1 p.m. It’s open to kids ages 5 to 9. The registration fee is $8.00.
Other events include the hot dog and chili pepper eating contests and the new “hands free” chili eating contest. A bounce house will also be available for kids.
For information about French City Chili Fest 2009, contact the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce at 446-0596.