Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff

Wisconsin State Chili cups
Photograph by Hannah Kallio

It's not surprising that the Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff has a lot in common with a savory bowl of chili. It's not just great ingredients that count, it's how you combine those ingredients. And it takes time to get all the flavors to blend just right.

Over the years, the event has grown from a few dozen people gathering to a partnership between the Green Lake Rotary Club and the International Chili Society. The Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff now attracts over 1,000 chili enthusiasts and as many as 40 chili-making teams from all over the Midwest.

The event blends just the right combination of colorful people, delicious food, ice-cold beverages, and live music in a beautiful waterfront park. And there's no charge for admission. The party starts at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 9, at Deacon Mills Park in Green Lake. That's when each team of competitors turns the heat up on their batch of chili.

Photograph by Hannah Kallio

As you visit each booth, you can chat with the cooks about their secret recipe and sample the chili-themed appetizers and desserts. You'll find everything from familiar Tex-Mex favorites, like chips with homemade salsa, to unexpected delicacies, like chili dark chocolate bark. While the chili simmers, kick back and enjoy the live music.

At 3:00 p.m., the team of judges will evaluate each batch of chili on the flavor, texture, consistency, aroma, blend of spices, and color. Then it's your turn to judge for yourself. Buy sample cups to taste several batches of chili and vote to decide which team will take home the coveted People's Choice Award.

After the judging, the first, second, and third place winners will be announced and a $750 cash prize will be awarded. The winning team will also be eligible to compete at the International Chili Society World Championships.

To learn more about this event or how your team can compete, contact the Green Lake Chamber of Commerce at (800) 253-7354 or (920) 294-3231, or go to visitgreenlake.com .

Hannah Kallio is a freelance writer, speaker, and coach. Learn more at hannahkallio.org .