Pepper up for the chili fest


The 12th annual Simon Kenton Chili Cook-off Festival on Saturday in Urbana will include live entertainment, children’s games and a day full of contests. Not only will the day include 31 contestants vying for the first prize of $1,000 for the best chili, but there will also be a hot pepper eating contest, a Suck, Chew and Blow contest, best salsa contest, dunk tank, and a cornhole tournament. In addition, attendees may vote for their favorite chili by purchasing “beads” for $1. The winner will receive a Peoples Choice Chili trophy and bragging rights.

For those entering the Best Salsa contest, entries are to be dropped off at the courthouse stage by 10:30 a.m. Entries must be in a disposable container, with recipe and registration form attached. Please check the website for details and forms.

Start your day with a pancake breakfast served by the Masonic fraternity 7 a.m.-11 a.m. at the Masonic Temple, 222 N. Main St. All donations go to the Champaign County Special Olympics program. The Masonic community has been an integral part of Champaign County since 1809 and their participation is a visible sign of their commitment to the community.

If contests are not your “thing,” enjoy the Hoopla Parade, which will include a pet parade and the Dayton Antioch Shriners with their miniature vehicles, sample the contestants’ chili, watch a 106.9 “The Bull” live remote broadcast, and rock to the sounds of The LA band. Food trucks will have lots of food choices and vendors will be selling jewelry, candles, snack items and fall decor.

The First Baptist Church, 401 N. Main St., invites the public to visit the church from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to watch the Hoopla Parade from the parking lot, then enjoy games and crafts for the kids and free snacks for everyone. Caring Hearts from ReviveOhio will be on hand to pray with anyone who would like prayer.

Main Street north of the square to Church Street will be closed to vehicular traffic at 6 a.m. The street will open for the Hoopla Parade at noon and close again from 1-6 p.m. The stage will be on the courthouse steps and live entertainment featuring The LA Band will begin at approximately 1:30 p.m. The emcee of the event, Taylor Armstrong, will coordinate all activities from the stage and entertain the crowd with spontaneous on the spot interviews. Committee members wearing “staff” t-shirts will be available to answer any questions. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy a day of food, fun and entertainment.

Plenty of fun activities

The Kids Zone, the dunk tank and the cornhole tournament are popular activities returning to the festival.

To encourage family attendance, the festival committee offers an area dedicated to children’s activities. Lois Monroe, chairman of the Kids Zone, has put together games and prizes to entertain the youngsters and all at no charge. In addition to the games, the US Army Recruiters’ office based in Springfield will be challenging the youth in skill-building activities. The Triad National Honor Society students will be volunteering to provide face painting and help with coordinating the games and activities. The Kids Zone is located on East Court Street behind the dunk tank and will be open from 1-4 p.m.

The dunk tank is a crowd pleaser and is open to all ages. Volunteering to be “dunked” this year are: Ryan Lantz, Ryan Berry, Doug Crabill, Jeff VanGorder, VFW members, Jonathan Anway, Jay Brewer and Pinky 3. The chairman, Vicki J. Deere Bunnell, and co-chair, Kara Deere Stephens, will take their turn in the tank at 5 p.m. Don’t miss your chance to dunk your favorite (or not so favorite) person!

The cornhole tournament led by Mark Hall is highly competitive and continues to draw the best players in the area. The tournament is limited to 32 teams and is a great opportunity to watch the “pros” compete.

Helping with set up, tear down and keeping the area clean will be the Boy Scout Venture Group 11, the Urbana University Men’s and Women’s basketball teams, and the UU football team.

Saturday’s Schedule of Events

7-10 a.m. – Vendors and Cookers Registration/Set-up – N. MAIN ST-MUST ENTER THROUGH CHURCH ST.

7 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Welcome/Information Tent Open – Opposite the courthouse stage – Court/Main streets

8 a.m. – Urbana Fire truck sirens will signal cookers to begin cooking; Salsa contestants pick up application at Salsa table on courthouse stage or on website

10:30 a.m. – Deadline for salsa and applications to be turned in at courthouse stage

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Beer Garden Open

11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Registration for Corn Hole Tournament – Limit 32 teams

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Registration for Suck, Chew and Blow Contest (limit 10 entries); Registration for Pepper Eating Contest (limit 16 entries)

11 a.m. – Judging of salsa entries on courthouse stage; Sale of People’s Choice Beads opens – $1 each or 12/$10- Welcome Tent

Noon – Hoopla Parade/Pet Parade Begins

1-4 p.m. – Children’s area open – East Court Street

Dunk Tank opens (1-5:30 p.m.)

1:30 p.m. – Salsa contest winners announced at courthouse stage

1:30-6 p.m. – Live Music by The LA Band – courthouse stage

2 p.m. – Chili Contestants Turn in Chili to Judges (Masonic Temple); Contestant Chili Samples available to the public (free)

2-4 p.m. – 106.9 “The Bull” radio station live broadcast

2 p.m. – Corn Hole Tournament Begins – W. Court Street – behind beer garden

3 p.m. – Suck, Chew and Blow contest begins – courthouse stage; People’s Choice Balloting ends – Containers picked up by committee

3:30 p.m. – Hot Pepper Eating contest – courthouse stage

4:30 p.m. – Announce winners of Chili Cook-off, Pepper Eating contest, People’s Choice and Best Decorated Booth

6 p.m. – Festival closes

Regional Shriners are shown during the 2017 Hoopla Parade, a companion event to the Simon Kenton Chili Cook-off and Festival. Shriners are shown during the 2017 Hoopla Parade, a companion event to the Simon Kenton Chili Cook-off and Festival. Staff file photo

Steve Brandeberry was one of the participants in last year’s Dunk Tank at Simon Kenton Chili Cook-off and Festival. Brandeberry was one of the participants in last year’s Dunk Tank at Simon Kenton Chili Cook-off and Festival. Submitted photo
Saturday’s event full of food, fun

By Sandy Gonzalez

Information from event organizers.

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