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11th Annual Chili Cook-Off brings tempting tastings and festival fun

The 11th Annual International Chili Society and Silver State Chili Cook-Off took over Petrack Park this past weekend for three days filled with savory tastings, fun and activities and of course, some intense culinary competition.

Kicking off on Friday, March 22, the Chili Cook-Off ran through Sunday, attracting hundreds of attendees all eager to enjoy what the event had to offer.

With the highlight of the festival being two officially sanctioned chili competitions, one on Saturday and another on Sunday, patrons were able to satisfy their tastebuds with samplings of the incredible concoctions whipped up by the contestants. If the expressions of delight uttered by tasters were anything to judge by, the crowd was obviously well-pleased with the tempting tastings.

But there was a whole lot more to partake of than just chili, as the cook-off featured a number of diverting amusements for the entire family. There was a car show along with a “Lil’ Pepper Mini Grand Prix”, a carnival, live music, vendors, games, raffles and more.

“Everything went amazingly well! This was by far the best cook-off to date and the most attendance!” event coordinator Kelli Sater raved. “The carnival was a great addition and we got wonderful feedback from the public. We will be bringing the carnival back each year and hopefully will be able to expand to more rides in the future. The games with the kids were also a huge hit. Oliver Jones hosted the games for us and he did an amazing job keeping the kids entertained and involved in the fun. The kids’ electric car race saw an awesome turnout and that will be brought back each year, along with all of the fun activities we had for the youth.”

Sater noted that one reason so many kids’ activities were included is so as to attract those youngsters to supporting future events. “I gear the cook-off toward kids so that they may want to get involved and compete over the years to keep this event going and to teach them about helping their community,” Sater remarked.

On the vendor side of things, the event saw a sizable increase in participation for the 2024 cook-off.

“Last year, we only had about eight vendors and this year, we had over 30,” Sater said. “All of the vendors were unique in what they sold because we didn’t want to have multiple vendors selling the same products so we kept the list restricted. It worked out great for the vendors in terms of them making money and for the public so they didn’t have to see the same products throughout the festival.”

The chili cook-off may be about fun and competition but the event also serves another purpose, that of raising funds for various causes. This year, the two beneficiaries were St. Jude’s Children’s Ranch and the Nye County Cinderella Girls program.

“After all was said and done, we managed to raise $8,000 total. We are donating $1,000 of that to St. Jude’s Children’s Ranch and the remaining $7,000 is going to the Cinderella Girls,” Sater reported, adding, “A big thank you to our sponsors, Pahrump Tourism, Cutting Edge Design, Pahrump Life Magazine, Sherrie Marie’s Attic, Joe’s Sanitation, O’ Happy Bread, Awards Plus, Reaper Apparel, Sanders Winery and Wrecking Ball Entertainment, for helping with this event!”

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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