Sizzlin' September Entertainment

The 33rd annual Bluegrass & Chili Festival takes place September 6-8, 2012 at the Claremore Expo Center grounds.

By: Lorrie Ward | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: September 2012

Marty Stuart & The Fabulous Superlatives will headline on Thursday.

Marty Stuart & The Fabulous Superlatives will headline on Thursday.

Recently while on vacation, Rogers County native Myrtle Prather went into a store in Branson, Missouri to buy a pair of shoes for her granddaughter. At the register, the cashier asked Myrtle for her zip code, and when Myrtle said, “74017-Claremore,” the cashier exclaimed, “Oh, that’s where we go every year to the Bluegrass & Chili Festival!”

    When Myrtle relayed this story to Dell Davis, president of the Claremore Chamber of Commerce, Dell was not surprised. “People all over the country identify Claremore with this festival,” she says, ­pointing out that some of the attendees starting coming as ­children with their parents and now have grown up and are bringing their own children. “Some groups even make this their annual family reunion,” Dell says. “We do a survey of ­participants every year amongst the people who park on site and it is interesting to see where ­people come from – Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Kansas, and even as far away as Colorado and Florida.”

    This year’s event, held September 6, 7, and 8, promises to be filled with fun as usual. One popular feature is the ­Mid-America Regional Chili Cook-off and Salsa Competition, ­during which chili creators will vie to win a spot in the World Cook-off, where they could win the $25,000 first prize. Festival attendees can purchase an ­official taster kit and judge for themselves whose chili deserves this top honor. The Bluegrass & Chili Festival also hosts plenty of other fun events for the whole family, including the Festival Market, Open Car Show, Kiddie Korral, dance exhibitions of country and clog dancing, an antique tractor pull, and much more. Admission to the festival is free, and onsite parking is $10 per carload.

    Festival hours are Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 11p.m. and Saturday from

11 a.m. to ­11 p.m., and each day promises exciting musical entertainment. The award-winning Dailey & Vincent and country superstar Marty Stuart & The Fabulous Superlatives will ­perform on Thursday. The CMA, IBMA and Grammy Award winning Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder will play on Friday evening, and Saturday’s lineup will include Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, followed by Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, and wrapped up by Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. In addition, three stages around the festival will feature music from regional favorites like Heartland Xpress, Spring Street, Ben Neikirk & The Undecided Band, Common Tyme, Lauren Lee & Liberty Road, Roof Top Romeos, The Vikings, Sixx Gunn Hill, Bethany Grace & Gypsy Soul and many others. For a complete entertainment listing, go to

    There will be two events for budding artists as well: The Best Country in the City Vocalist Competition, open to any age group, and the Junior Showcase for talented youth, ages 21 and younger. For more information on the music lineup or for ­applications and information on the competition and showcase, visit

    The Bluegrass & Chili Festival has been a Green Country event for 33 years, and the festival continues to grow since moving to Claremore from Tulsa in 2000. “We don’t even realize what we have until we go off and hear someone else talk about it,” says Dell, who tells of visiting Harrison, Arkansas and attending a Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver concert, who are regular performers at the Bluegrass & Chili Festival. As she and her husband sat waiting for the show to begin, a group of strangers nearby began talking about how they heard this group in Claremore and expressed high praise not only for the Bluegrass & Chili Festival, but for the town itself, bragging on Claremore’s entertainment, sites, antique stores and museums. The group had no idea who they were sitting next to, and Dell and her husband did not reveal themselves, but instead just sat and enjoyed hearing the admiration directed at their hometown. “My husband just sat next to me, nudging me and grinning,” Dell recalls with a grin of her own. “I wish I’d had a recorder!” 

For more information, contact

Bluegrass & Chili Festival

(918) 341-2818

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Bluegrass & Chili Festival

For more information, contact:

Bluegrass & Chili Festival

(918) 485-2554
Wagoner, OK

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