It’s the tastiest contest in Cloverdale, putting amateurs and pros to the test in a no-holds-barred chili cook-off between local businesses during Rodeo Week.
Winners are determined by ballot – members of the public sample and rate the chili, recording their marks on a ballot.
The annual Chili Cook-off is presented by Clover Square Village in partnership with the Cloverdale BIA and the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce.
Judges – aka customers and patrons – pick up a Chili Passport, and then taste their way through the tasting area. They rate each chili and drop their passports into a voting box, with the winners announced that same day, after the ballots are counted.
This year’s cook-off at Clover Square Village runs Friday, May 20 from 4:30 p.m. until the chili runs out.
There was an added wrinkle this year, which nearly worked to sink the event. In the past, contestants prepared their chili off-site.
Amateur chili cooks wanting to enter the 19th annual event will have to cook their chili at an approved, Fraser Health-inspected kitchen, potentially driving entrants away.
“It’s definitely affected us,” Cloverdale BIA executive director Paul Orazietti said. “We have had a slight drop in participation.”
This year’s event was in jeopardy until Pacific Community Church offered up its commercial-grade, Fraser Health-approved Cloverdale Community Kitchen facility as a venue for amateur cooks to use to cook their chili.
“It’s saving the day,” he said.
The kitchen will be available several days leading up to the event: Tuesday, May 14 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday, May 19 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Friday, May 20 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The address is 5337 180 Street, Surrey. To book a kitchen time, call executive pastor Jim Heuving at 604-308-6191.
Professional entries must apply directly to Fraser Health for a temporary food premises application, and must post it on their table at the event. It will take about 1.5 weeks to process.
The chili cook-off application deadline is Wednesday, May 19. Entry forms are available online and at the BIA/Chamber office at 5748 176 Street. Email email@example.com for more information, or call 604-576-3155.
Rodeo countdown begins
Meanwhile, the 70th annual Cloverdale Rodeo and 128 Country Fair (May 20-23) is just over a week away, an annual attraction that draws tens of thousands of visitors to the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.
Highlights will include Friday night fireworks, a headlining country music concert featuring Chad Brownlee, the Cloverdale Invitational Rodeo with the world’s top cowboys and cowgirls competing for cash prizes in a renovated Stetson Bowl, live music performances and rising stars, the fifth annual World Freestyle Round-up skateboard championship, midway rides, and more.
The Express Clydesdales are returning as the star attraction of the Cloverdale Rodeo Parade Saturday May 21. They’ll also be available for selfies and photo ops at the chili cook-off the night before the parade.
Other cook-off attractions include a skateboarding demonstration by competitors at the World Freestyle Round-up, face painting, and a bouncy castle for the kids.