Chili Cook-Off returns to Fall Fest

The Chili Cook-Off is back.

After being canceled last year due to COVID-19 concerns, the annual chili contest that’s long been a part of the Holton/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Fest on Holton’s Town Square, will return for its 22nd year at the 14th-annual Fall Fest, according to Chamber director Ashlee York.

So far, only “a handful” of chili cooks have announced their plans to put their best “bowl of red” up for judging, York said, but the response to the return of the cook-off has been enthusiastic.

“As soon as we put it out there that the Chili Cook-Off was coming back, we had a couple of people tell us, ‘I’m really glad you’re doing this!’ And then they entered the contest that day,” she said.

But there’s still time to sign up for the cook-off, as York said she expects several chili cookers to sign up “just a couple of days before the event,” giving them plenty of time to perfect their recipes.

“If it’s chilly weather, I’m sure people are going to get inspired,” she added.

With COVID-19 remaining a going concern, York said that cooks, chili fans and all who visit the Square for Fall Fest activities will be encouraged to keep the cook-off a safe event this year.

“We are encouraging mask use when people aren’t tasting chili, and we’ll provide gloves for the cooks,” she said. “If we feel like we need to add more safety measures, we’ll do that.”

As in the past, chili recipes will be judged by a team of judges and by the general public, who will cast their votes for the “People’s Choice” award, while the judging team determines who will win the “Judges Choice” and “Most Creative Site” awards.

At the last Chili Cook-Off in 2019, the “People’s Choice” award was won by Carolyn Cochren while the “Judges Choice” award went to a team from Holton Dental. A total of 17 different batches of chili were judged in that contest.

Chili fans can purchase a bag of sampler cups for $5, and cooks will dish out bowls of homemade chili. Each sampler cup bag will include a ticket to be used for voting in the “People’s Choice” contest.

For more information, including entry forms, visit

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The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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