By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: August 2012
Rockin’ the Chili Pepper are (seated, L to R) Sherry Hinds and Candi Czapansky; standing are Valerie Gunter, Dell Davis, Dave Chaussard and Tanya Andrews.
One of the most popular events in northeast Oklahoma is rapidly approaching, with many opportunities to still get involved. The 33rd annual Bluegrass & Chili Festival will be held Thursday through Saturday, September 6-8 at the Claremore Expo Center grounds. According to Dell Davis of the Claremore Chamber of Commerce, sign-ups and applications are available for the Mid-America Regional Chili Cook-Off and Salsa Competition, Best Country in the City Vocalist Competition, Festival Market, Open Car Show and Junior Showcase.
The Mid-America Regional Chili Cook-Off and Salsa Competition is presented by Air Products, Caseco, Tulsa Federal Credit Union and Reasor’s, and is an eagerly anticipated event every year. Cash prizes and trophies are awarded in the various divisions. The winner from the International Chili Society sanctioned division will represent the festival at the World Cook-off, which boasts a $25,000 first prize. The non-profit division, open to non-profits, schools and churches, allows participants the opportunity to win a $1,000 cash prize awarded by ONG. Businesses can participate in the corporate division, where they will win prizes and bragging rights for the entire year. The corporate division is a great way for employees to have fun and gain recognition for the business. The open division is for any cook that would like to enter, and anything can be used as ingredients. The fun continues with the annual “Ham-manship” competition. “This showmanship award is so much fun to watch as each team works to ‘out ham’ the other one,” says Dell. Honors are also awarded for best booth decorations. The salsa division is one of the most popular events, with a variety of entries in the annual competition.
Applications for the Best Country in the City Vocalist competition, presented by Wal-Mart and Osage Casino, are also available to those of any age who pre-qualify for the competition. A cash prize will be awarded for this event as well. The competition promises to be highly entertaining.
For those under 21 years of age who would like to exhibit their stage talents in a non-competitive environment, the festival will hold a Junior Showcase, presented by McDonald’s and Mike Davis Music & Sound. “Youth receive a sponsor bag, and by drawing, one will win a guitar,” says Dell.
The festival continues with the Festival Market, which includes not only arts and crafts, but businesses showcasing their local services and products. Applications are available.
Car show enthusiasts can also participate in the Open Car Show sponsored by Melton Sales, Sonic Drive-In and IBC Bank. The four-wheeled beauties are a wonderful addition to the event. Pre-registration and of day-of-show registration is available.
These are just a few of the events attendees have to look forward to at the upcoming 33rd annual Bluegrass & Chili Festival. You’ll also enjoy three stages of entertainment featuring bluegrass, country, gospel, classic rock and more, a car show, a tractor pull, dance exhibitions and more.
It is not too late to get involved in the Bluegrass & Chili Festival! “Behind the scenes are volunteers and sponsors like Hillcrest, GRDA, Cherokee Casino at Will Rogers Downs, UrgentCare, Claremore Optimists, TTCU The Credit Union, Kissee Ford, Grand Bank, Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts, and a host of Rogers County non-profits who are assisting with so many facets of the festival like transportation, parking, Kiddie Korral children’s area, first aid, performers’ hospitality, coupons, beverage booths and more. We appreciate so much the sponsors and volunteers who invest time, energy and financial support for this free family event,” says Dell. For more information or to sign up, contact her at (918) 341-2818.
The festival Major Sponsors are RCB Bank, City of Claremore, Lafarge, The News on 6, Big Country 99.5, RSU Public Television and Claremore Chamber of Commerce.
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.