And registration is still open for the Saturday event, which will feature enough varieties of chili to leave one begging for mercy and a tall glass of milk.
Trout Unlimited’s Paul DiPrima said the $40 team-entry fee covers a 20-foot-square cooking site on which teams can set up Friday night or early Saturday morning before the event begins.
“If people want to come Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and say they want to cook, we’ll let them cook,” he said. “One of the guys who won third place a few years ago did that. He pulled up in an old Dodge pickup truck, set up real quick and started making chili.”
Entry fees for the cookoff also include two T-shirts from the event, an apron and a flag featuring the cookoff logo. DiPrima said organizers will also provide the tasting cups and the quart-sized containers used for the judges to test, but all other supplies must be brought by the teams.
DiPrima said live music will be featured during the event from 11 a.m. to at least 3 p.m. to entertain the thousands of people he hopes will attend this year’s event. Gates open at 10:30 a.m.
Prizes for this year’s cookoff include a $500 grand prize, along with cash prizes for second and third place winners. Participants who place first through fifth will also receive trophies in the People’s and Judges’ Choice categories.
Tickets for the event are $5, with children 5 and younger admitted free. DiPrima said money raised from the event goes directly back to Trout Unlimited’s mission of helping to protect and preserve waterways and fish habitats all across Georgia and the United States, along with helping to fund the E.C.O. River Education Center and the Arrowhead Centers.