The event, essentially a celebration of chili for charity, will feature a few hundred teams hailing from locales around the country flaunting their culinary wares for a discerning, large audience.
Last year’s cook-off drew a crowd somewhere north of 14,000 people, organizers said.
Doug Phipps, marketing manager for the event, has been part of the cook-off for nearly two decades.
He recalled its modest beginnings, when 15 cooking teams competing for bragging rights whipped up the best chili, Brunswick stew and cornbread in a parking lot in 1979.
“It’s grown to 300 teams since then,” Phipps said. “It’s one of the largest chili cook-offs east of the Mississippi River.”
Spicing things up a bit will be the friendly competitions going on between teams. In addition to culinary one-upmanship, they will be competing for honors like the showmanship award, which pays out a cash prize of $500.
“It’s just a visual thing — which team has the best theme, whoever has the best booths … we’ve seen everything — people dressing up like pirates [and so on],” Phipps said.
The vibe at the cook-off environment is set to be bolstered by the presence of live bands, an abundance of food and drinks — including the titular beverage — and family-centric games.
Proceeds from the event benefit Camp Twin Lakes. The nonprofit offers year-round recreational, therapeutic and educational programs for children facing serious illnesses and other physical, emotional and life challenges.
“After everything is over and we’ve paid our expenses, we just cut a check to Camp Twin Lakes,” said Phipps. “That’s really the beauty of the event … it’s all about the kids.”
Tickets are $10 for adults; children 12 and under are admitted free.
If you go
When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Special events meadow, Stone Mountain Park