By: John Fenrich | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2009
Veteran International Chili Society competitors John and Kay Fenrich prepare their chili at last year’s State of Oklahoma Chili Cook-Off at Lake Eufaula. Kay won the People’s Choice competition, and John placed second in chili verde.
The official International Chili Society State of Oklahoma Chili Cook-Off will be held in Owasso for the first time on October 24, 2009 at Centennial Park in conjunction with the City of Owasso’s Harvest Festival.
Cook-off co-chairman John Fenrich said the ICS State championship event had moved from Lake Eufaula, where it had been held for the past five years.
“We are pleased and honored that ICS feels we can put on a top quality cook-off that will make Oklahomans proud,” said Fenrich, who has been putting on sanctioned ICS cook-offs throughout the United States for more than 25 years.
Fenrich and his wife, Kay, moved back to Green Country a year and a half ago after an absence of some 35 years. Fenrich is a retired newspaper publisher, and his wife has been president and CEO of two chambers of commerce in northern California. Both are accomplished competition chili cooks. Last year Fenrich won first in the chili verde competition at the ICS regional cook-off in Claremore in conjunction with the Bluegrass Festival, and Kay won in the People’s Choice competition with her red chili at the State of Oklahoma Cook-Off at Lake Eufaula.
The Owasso cook-off will feature some of the best chili cooks in the United States, since the winners in red chili, chili verde (green chili) and salsa qualify to represent the state at the 2010 International Chili Society World Championship Cook-Off.
“Since our cook-off will be the first chance for ICS cooks to qualify for World, we expect to have a lot of cooks from both in state and out of state flocking to Owasso to compete,” said Fenrich, who added that he had already received an entry application from a team in Southern California.
In addition to the ICS competition, local teams will be competing for People’s Choice honors in chili and salsa. Winners will receive trophies, cash and bragging rights. One team will also be the champion in the Showmanship/Booth competition.
“Chili cook-offs are a lot of fun for the whole family,” said Fenrich. “The People’s Choice teams have themes and costumes, and some of the booths get quite creative.”
Cook-off co-chair Nicole Warren said People’s Choice champions will be determined by ballots filled out by spectators purchasing tasting kits in order to sample the many chilies.
The chili cook-off and Harvest Festival are free to the public. The chili cook-off is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the Harvest Festival runs until 7 p.m.
In addition to tasting great chili there will be musical entertainment, food and drink, costume and pumpkin carving contests, a scarecrow contest, car show, hay rides, bounce house, kids’ games, face painting and emergency vehicle displays. Other activities include a Little Miss Chili Pepper Contest sponsored by Crystal Arts Academy of Dance of Eufaula and the VCA/Tulsa Pets Magazine Chili Dog Contest. A large variety of vendors and crafts booths will be showing off their wares.
Proceeds from the Owasso Harvest Festival Chili Cook-Off will benefit the Owasso High School Band and the Owasso YMCA. The Owasso High School band boosters will be selling Andolini's Pizza as a fundraising project.
The festival and chili cook-off is free. Parking will be at the Owasso High school with shuttle busses running throughout the day to the park.
Sponsors of the festival and cook-off include Arvest Bank, Family First Chiropractic, Sole FX, Martial Arts Academy, First Bank, Drake Chiropractic, P&K Equipment (John Deere), VCA Owasso Animal Medical Center, Party Depot, Fit For Her, Hampton Inn, EZ ADZ, the Owasso Reporter, Reasors, Andolini's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant, Office Depot and J&K Media Resources.
Centennial Park is located three miles east of Owasso High School on 86th Street North. More information on the cook-off and entry forms can be obtained by contacting Fenrich at (918) 609-6211 or going to the cook-off website: www.owassochilifestival.com.