The Christian County Chamber of Commerce is hoping Fort Campbell teams will have the right ingredients to spice things up during this year’s Salute to Fort Campbell Chili Cook-Off and Grilled Cheese Challenge Sept. 28 in Historic Downtown Hopkinsville.
Participants will compete for cash prizes and bragging rights.
The chili cook-off is the culminating event of Salute Week festivities in Hopkinsville, said Lindsey Geraci, the Chamber’s director of Military Affairs.
Last year, a team of Night Stalkers assigned to 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), won “Crowd Favorite” and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team Spouses made a big impression with their “awesome vegetarian chili,” Geraci said.
Geraci hopes more military units or teams made up of Families or other workers with Fort Campbell connections will participate in this year’s competition.
“(This event) is where we thank and honor our military service members and Families for being a valued part of our community,” she said. “We’d love to get as much participation from Fort Campbell as possible, both from military chili teams participating and from Families coming out to enjoy the event.”
Military teams can register without fees and if there are enough there will be a special prize in that category, she said.
Geraci said the annual cook-off has long been popular with Fort Campbell Soldiers, but participation has fallen off in recent years and she’d like to see that change.
“We are really hoping to bump up our military teams,” she said.
Teams can have up to six members and must prepare at least six gallons of chili on site, beginning at 8 a.m. the day of the event. Teams also must decorate their booth, provide a table, banner, cooking source and all ingredients.
Military teams can be made up of any group or simply comprised of “a Soldier who thinks they’re the best” and gets a few buddies to help out, Geraci said.
Up to 60 teams can enter the cook-off, including civilian and military teams.
In addition to the $1,000 grand prize there will be smaller prizes for first through fourth place, “Best Theme,” “Crowd Favorite,” and “Kentucky Made” chili and for the Grilled Cheese Challenge.
All-you-can-eat tickets for the cook-off are available to the general public for a $2 donation. Department of Defense ID card holders receive free tickets.
Entry deadline for competitors is Sept. 16.
For a list of rules, timeline or to get an entry form, email Lgeraci@christiancountychamber.com
Entry forms also are available at www.christiancountychamber.com.