One of Minden’s finest traditions returns soon.

The 26th annual Minden St. Jude Chili Cook-off takes place Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Minden Civic Center.

The event’s popularity has soared in recent years, with the average turnout for the Chili Cook-off around 70-80 participants. Hundreds more will turn out to taste test. Tasting cups are available for $5 and will be sold from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Randy Stevenson, in his first year of coordinating the event, said this year’s cook-off is poised to build on the success of years past.

“This is going to be a fun year for the cook-off,” Stevenson said. “We’re focusing on getting more local cooks out this year. We have around 30 spots that I would like to fill with first-time cooks, or cooks that haven’t been out in a while. We want people to come and have a great time cooking, listening to good local music and visiting with friends.”

Last year’s cook-off raised $8,621 for the children of St. Jude, a figure Stevenson would like exceed in 2017.

“Our main objective is fundraising for the auction,” Stevenson said. “My goal for this year is to be over $10,000. We have added new sponsors to the event and will be raffling off items throughout the day outside and onstage, as well as adding concessions outside.”

For those who wish to enter the cook-off, pre-register online with payment available at sign-in the day of the cook-off. The entry fee for the cook-off is $30 which will need to be paid by cash or check.

The categories for the cook-off include Official Judging, People’s Choice Award and Best in Show.
The cook-off, although no longer sanctioned by CASI, will be conducted under CASI rules.

Chili must be cooked on-site from scratch the day of the cook-off and complete commercial chili mixes (just add meat) are not permissible.

Two setup time options are available, with one lasting from 4-8 p.m. Friday and the other from 7:30-8:30 a.m. Saturday.

The winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Sponsors for this year’s cook-off are: Mike’s Hometown Spirits (Title Sponsor), LR’s Sweets & Treats, Aaron’s Rent-to-Own, the Wimberly Agency, Aime Hospice Care, Minden Medical Center, Easley Studios & Courtyard, KASO Radio and Little Rod & Black Pot.

Entertainment for the event will be provided by the Dorcheat Bottom Band and the Hard Times Band.

For more information or further questions, visit the Minden St. Jude Chili Cook-off Facebook page, or email mindenchili@gmail.com