By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: August 2010
The Bluegrass & Chili Festival committee includes (L to R): (Back row) Mark Lee, Dell Davis, Ron Lillie, Wes Miller, Joe Kays, Julie Rice, (Front row) Pam Steffens, Valerie Gunter, Sherry Hinds, Candi Czapansky, Stephanie Jackson and Audrey Schmidt. (Not pictured): Tanya Andrews, Ron Burrow, Susan Thornton, Cindy Bissett, and Matt and Kathy Ricks.
One of the most popular events in northeast Oklahoma is rapidly approaching, with many opportunities to still get involved. The 31st annual Bluegrass & Chili Festival will be held September 9, 10 and 11 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, The Best Country in the City Vocalist Competition, the Festival Market, the Open Car Show, the Antique Tractor Pull and the Junior Showcase.
The Mid-America Regional Chili Cook-off and Salsa Competition is presented by IBC Bank and Air Products, and is an eagerly anticipated event every year. In addition to the sanctioned ICS division, corporate, open, and non-profit divisions give cooks an opportunity to participate. “The International Chili Society Division winning cook will represent the festival in the World Cook-Off in Manchester, New Hampshire in October, which boasts a $25,000 first prize,” says Dell. “Contestants will also compete in showmanship, booth decorations and more.” The non-profit division is open to any non-profits, schools and churches. First prize in the non-profit division is $1,000, presented by ONG. The corporate and open division winners will win prizes and have bragging rights for an entire year.
Applications for The Best Country in the City Vocalist competition, presented by Wal-Mart, are also available to those of any age who aren’t afraid to showcase their talent. A $500 cash prize will be awarded for this event. 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 hosted by AT&T. “Youth receive a sponsor bag, and by drawing, one will win a guitar,” says Dell.
Last year, the Festival Market expanded from its former focus on only arts and crafts, and now showcases local services and businesses. Businesses are already signing up, but there is plenty of room for more.
The Open Car Show, presented by Sonic and Melton Sales, will showcase four wheeled beauties in over 44 classes. Pre-entry and day of show registration is available. The Antique Tractor Pull will take place on Saturday — sign-ups are available now.
These are just a few of the events attendees have to look forward to at the upcoming 31st annual Bluegrass & Chili Festival. You’ll also enjoy free concerts. Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, IIIrd Tyme out, The Grascals, Bob Wills Texas Playboys, Dailey & Vincent, Grasstowne and New Found Road have confirmed to date. Plus, a host of regional talent will perform on three stages throughout the event.
Major sponsors of the event are City of Claremore, the News on 6 KOTV, 98.5 KVOO, Lafarge North America, RCB Bank, 1st Bank of Oklahoma, Healthy Community Partnership, Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs and RSU Public Media.
It is not too late to get involved in the Bluegrass & Chili Festival! For more information or to sign up, contact the Claremore Chamber of Commerce at (918) 341-2818 or visit www.claremore.org.
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.