Wisconsin State Championship Chili Cookoff Moves to October

Wisconsin State Chili participants
Photograph by Jean Cornelius

When it comes to finding something to do in Wisconsin’s autumn months, Green Lake offers some great events that have been exciting visitors and residents alike for many years. One is the annual Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff, which has been a claim to fame for Green Lake for over 40 years. While previously held in early September, the 2020 cookoff will take place on Saturday, October 10.

The International Chili Society promotes chili cookoffs across the country and hosts the International Chili Cookoff for a chance to win $25,000. It collaborates with the Green Lake Rotary Club to bring chefs to Deacon Mills Park for a full day of cooking and tasting chili.

The competition showcases the talents of approximately 30 chefs of all skill levels. The cooks spend the morning cooking their famous chili recipes before contest organizers open the event tent to the general public to sample the mouthwatering chilis in the early afternoon. From spicy to mild, there’s something for all taste buds, and the public will have the chance to vote for their favorite for the People’s Choice Award.

Photograph by Jean Cornelius

While attendees enjoy the many flavors, a live band and DJ will provide musical entertainment, and the Rotary Club will sell beer, soda, and its very own chili, as well as raffle tickets, throughout the day.

During the chili sampling, a panel of judges takes turns tasting all the contest entries to see which are their favorites. Judges include local and state politicians, neighboring Rotary Club members, and a celebrity judge performing at the Thrasher Opera House Saturday evening.

As attendees watch the judge’s tent in eager anticipation for their final decisions, the sampling wraps up, and all eyes turn to the Deacon Mills Park Starlight Stage. It’s here that the Green Lake Rotary Club will announce and give away trophies and cash awards to the top three chilis along with the Showmanship Award winner. A trophy will also be awarded to the spiciest chili.

For more information about the 2020 Wisconsin State Chili Cookoff, be sure to visit wisconsinstatechampionshipchilicook-off.com .

Alyssa Paulsen is a freelance writer.