By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2012
Owasso’s Mike Mayenschein was declared the Oklahoma champion in the International Chili Society Oklahoma Championship Cook-Off in red chili at last year’s Owasso Harvest Festival Chili Cook-Off. With Mayenschein is cook-off chairman John Fenrich.
What could be better than a bowl of warm delicious chili on a cool autumn day? How about having the option of tasting several yummy chili options, as well as a variety of homemade salsas and homestyle barbecue? Mark your calendar now for the 4th annual Owasso Harvest Festival Chili Cook-Off, to be held Saturday, October 27 from
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Due to some development at the festival’s previous site at Centennial Park, they are moving this year to Rayola Park in Owasso. Rayola Park is located just west of Highway 169 (adjacent to the YMCA) between 76th and 86th Street North. The festival will again feature free admission and free parking.
“Last year’s turnout was amazing,” said cook-off chairman “Chili John” Fenrich, who said estimates of the crowd ranged from 3,000 to 5,000. Fenrich added that ICS cooks from as far away as West Virginia, Ohio and Illinois travel to Owasso to compete in the International Chili Society Oklahoma Championship Chili Cook-Off, which is part of the Harvest Festival Cook-Off.
Owasso veteran chili cook Mike Mayenschein was declared the Oklahoma champion in the red chili competition last year. He will represent the state at the 2012 World Chili Championship Cook-Off in Charleston, West Virginia. Also representing Oklahoma at the World Championship is Tulsan Bob Alexander with his salsa, and chili verde champion Wes Carlson from Illinois.
Local chili teams compete for People’s Choice chili and salsa honors, as well as the popular Best Booth/Showmanship prize. This year’s event will also feature a BBQ People’s Choice competition. Cook-off goers will be able to purchase Taster Kits and sample some 30 to 40 People’s Choice chili and salsa and lots of homestyle BBQ. Each Taster Kit contains a sampling cup, spoon, napkin, and ballots for People’s Choice chili, salsa, and BBQ. Proceeds from the sale of the tasting kits go to the Owasso High School FFA. “I’ve been judging ICS chili for 15 years,” said Bill Biard, owner of the famed Hammett House restaurant in Claremore and a 2011 cook-off judge. “I have never tasted so many great chilies.”
The tasters and cooks are entertained throughout the day by live entertainment on the chili stage. Other activities at the cook-off include the Little Miss Chili Pepper and Little Mr. Hot Sauce contest, the Cutest Chili Dog contest at the VCA/Owasso Animal Medical Center booth, plus all of the Harvest Festival events including hayrides, bounce houses, face painting, train rides, the YMCA scarecrow contest, Halloween maze, safety equipment displays and fair-type food.
“We were amazed at last year’s crowd and how many folks brought their dogs with them to enjoy the wonderful weather and all the excitement of the chili cook-off, and we hope to have another great turnout this year,” said Dr. Tambra Gatlin, head veterinarian at VCA/Owasso Animal Medical Center, which sponsors the Cutest Chili Dog contest along with TulsaPets Magazine.
A variety of vendors will be on hand as well. “For the past two years we have had local folks offering everything from chili-pepper stepping stones, to jewelry, soap, candles, carved toys, kitchen utensils and much, much more,” said Fenrich. To reserve your space now, download and submit a vendor form at www.owassochilifestival.org.
This year’s event is again being held in partnership with the Sertoma Club of Owasso. Founded in 1979, the Owasso Sertoma is part of Sertoma International and is dedicated to service to mankind. Sertoma’s primary focus is on assisting the more than 50 million people with hearing health issues and educating the public on the issues surrounding hearing health.
For more information, contact
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.