Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff

Wisconsin State Chili venue
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Green Lake is definitely the place to be all summer long, but there’s also a lot going on in the fall. While Harvest Fest may be the area’s premier event each year in late September, you won’t want to miss the fun that rolls around earlier in that same month. The spices and juicy aromas wafting throughout the town from Deacon Mills Park will draw you in.

If you are a chili enthusiast, the annual cookoff is perfect for you and the whole family! Each year on the Saturday after Labor Day, Green Lake becomes home to the hottest competition out there, the Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff, and it’s right on the shores of beautiful Big Green Lake. Head down to the park on Saturday, September 7, to give your taste buds a treat.

Hosted by the Green Lake Rotary Club and the International Chili Society, the Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff has been growing steadily for over 30 years. Over 30 chefs and their teams from throughout the Midwest meet under the big tent in the park around 10:00 a.m. to begin cooking their signature chili recipes. It’s all about finding the perfect combination of just the right ingredients to wow the panel of judges.

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

With cooking complete by 3:00 p.m., the judges take turns trying each chili as the tent opens to the general public to also sample each masterpiece and vote for the People’s Choice Award. As the public make their way through, they feast upon not only delicious chilis, but also take delight in festively clad chefs and homemade salsas and desserts.

Let’s not forget about the live music! A band will entertain festivalgoers as they enjoy their chilis and the judges tally their results. Raffles will also be available for attendees to try their luck.

Once the judges have tried all the chilis and determined the contest winner, the top 10 places are announced, with the first place team moving on to compete at the International Chili Society World Championship Chili Cook-off.

For more information regarding the Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff, please go to wisconsinstatechampionshipchilicook-off.com .

Alyssa Paulsen is a freelance writer.