Polo Chili Cook-off set to help ‘kick off fall season’

Event scheduled for Sept. 24; registration deadline is Sept. 16

POLO — Polo’s chili cook-off soon will be back.

Hosted by the Polo Chamber of Commerce, the cook-off is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24. Tasting and judging will be from noon to 3 p.m. at Louise D. Quick Park, 102 W. Mason St., in Polo.

“It’s kind of a fun community event,” said Megan White, Polo Chamber of Commerce secretary. “It kind of kicks off the fall season.”

There usually are six- to eight teams each year, she said. Last year, though, only two teams signed up, so the event was canceled.

There are four awards, each of which comes with a cash prize, White said. The Judges’ Choice prize is $100, the People’s Choice winner gets $50, and the Nontraditional and Showmanship winners each get $25.

Judges will do blind taste testing of the chili entries, White explained. For the People’s Choice, anyone who wants to try some chili is able to vote, she said.

“For people to come and taste, it’s by donation,” White said. “That gets them a cup and spoon and things like that.”

Some of the nontraditional chilis they’ve seen in the past include spicy chili and white chili, she said.

“Showmanship is kind of the fun one,” White said. “We’ve had Gilligan’s Island before, some cowboy themes, the Flintstones. The groups can dress up in different things or have themed chili.”

The chili cook-off registration deadline is Sept. 16. The registration packet can be found online at PoloChamber.org/chili-cook-off.html.

The entry fee for two chilis is $35, if paid in advance; each additional pot of chili is another $10. If the registration fee is paid the day of the event, it is $45 for two chilis.

Nothing for the chili can be prepared before 8 a.m. the day of the cook-off, including cooking of meat or slicing of vegetables. All food items must be store-bought; meat can be purchased from a professional processing company.

Teams must provide their own cooking utensils and booth equipment, including power cords.

For any questions, contact Polo Chamber of Commerce Treasurer Josh Faivre at 815-499-1322, or email polochamber@gmail.com.

Larry Lannen Memorial Blood Drive

The 14th annual Larry Lannen Memorial Blood Drive will take place alongside the chili cook-off. Blood donations can be made from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Appointments can be scheduled at RRVBC.org.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner covers Ogle County for the Oregon Republican Reporter, Forreston Journal, Mt. Morris Times and Polo Tri-County Press. She has six-plus years of experience in journalism and has won numerous awards.