The aroma of award winning chili is coming to Laishley Park in Punta Gorda on February 11th, 2012. That’s when the Charlotte Harbor Chili Challenge and Beer Festival is coming to town.
25 chili teams will set up their chili cooking booths in Laishley Park in an effort to persuade the judges and the general public that their chili is the best. The teams may consist of friends, family, service organizations, clubs, non-profits, businesses, or just about anyone who has the desire to make good, if not great chili.
In addition to making great chili, teams will be challenged to decorate their 15’ x 15’ booths in a “Chili in Florida” theme. The best decorated booth will win the Showmanship award and a first place prize of $500. Booths will be judged on five criteria: Theme, Action, Costume, Audience Appeal, and Booth Set-Up. Awards will be given to the top five booths. Teams may decorate their booths however they choose using any type of decorations, lights, banners, flags, props, etc. The only requirement is everything must be inside the 15 x 15 booth area. Chili Teams may also dress the theme or wear costumes as part of the booth’s appearance.
Chili will be the focus of the day and it will be judged in two ways. A panel of judges will taste test samples from each of the teams. Judges will score chili samples on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the best. There are five criteria for scoring: Aroma, Consistency, Color, Taste, and Texture. NOTE: Heat is not a grading factor! The Chili Challenge winners will receive $500, Bragging rights, and a trophy and prizes will be awarded through 5th place.
There will also be a $500 Award for the People’s Choice of best Chili. Each attendee will receive a voting coupon when they enter through the main gate, Collect as many of those coupons from people visiting your booth as you can! The Team with the most coupons wins the coveted People’s Choice Award and $500! People’s Choice Coupons will be collected at 6:00pm with the winner announced at the Award Ceremony at 7pm on the main stage
In addition to the Chili cooking, there will be a full slate of activities during the festival. Merchandise vendors will be on hand as well as other food vendors when you’re ready to take a break from the chili. Live music will be performed all day on the Service Provider Group Main Stage and there will be a Kid’s fun Zone to keep the young ones occupied.
Last but not least, a Beer Tasting Tent will feature over a dozen craft beers from Micro-Breweries around the country to satisfy your thirst. It’s an opportunity to sample beer from small breweries not always readily available in our area.
So mark your calendars for February 11th, 2012. The Charlotte Harbor Chili Challenge and Beer Festival in Laishley Park is sure to warm up a cool February day with great food, great live music, and great beer!
For more information call 941-637-5953. Vendor and registration forms are available here.