Chili Cook-Off Festivals in California

by Rebekah Worsham

California, known as a popular vacation destination with sandy beaches, vineyards and Hollywood, is also home to a number of chili cook-off festivals which are held throughout the year. These festivals give fans of chili an opportunity to sample delicacies from a variety of vendors as chefs battle for the title of best chili.

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Northern California

The city of Palo Alto, a suburb of the greater San Francisco area, celebrates Independence Day each year with the annual Palo Alto Summer Festival & Chili Cook-off. Festival goers are afforded the opportunity to sample goodies from more than 20 teams of chefs competing for the title of best chili as they check out displays from local vendors and enjoy live music provided by local bands. San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is also home to an annual chili cook-off festival, which is typically held in October of each year. Guests sample offerings from teams of local chefs and then have the opportunity to vote on who wins the award for a variety of categories including, sweetest chili, hottest chili and most unique.

Southern California

Located in the heart of southern California's Orange County region, the city of Tustin becomes a haven for chili lovers each year who converge on the small town in recognition of its annual Tustin Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off Festival. In addition to chili tasting, the event features a wine tasting contest and battle of the bands and culminates with the award for best chili. Big Bear Lake, located in the southeastern region of the state is home to the annual Old Miner Days Chili Cook-Off Festival, which is traditionally held in July of each year. The festival is themed in styles of the 1800's and includes a horseshoe contest, Miss Clementine beauty pageant and chili cook-off in which cooks from all over the state compete for the title of best chili.

Coastal Regions

Each year, thousands of visitors converge on Ocean Beach's Newport Avenue for the Annual OB Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off Festival. The event includes live music, rides and a designated kid's play area and culminates in the judging of the chili cook-off where hopeful chefs compete for the title of best chili. The city of Santa Cruz is home to the annual Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Chili Cook-Off celebration, which is typically held in October of each year. The event includes competitions between amateur and professional chefs for the title of best chili in addition to kiddie rides, arts and crafts booths and displays by local vendors.

Eastern California

Eastern California enjoys a milder climate than many areas in the coastal and southern regions of the state. Cooler weather arriving each fall signals the beginning of several chili-cook off festivals including the 49er Festival and Chili Cook festival which is typically held in September of each year. The festival includes a variety of vendor booths, live music from local bands and culminates in a battle of the chefs for the title of best chili. The city of Roseville, also located in the eastern portion of the state, holds an annual Hot Pepper Chili Cook-Off celebration in the historic Old Town region of the city. The festival includes beauty pageants, live bands and a contests for titles of best and hottest chili.

About the Author

Rebekah Worsham began writing professionally in 2007 and has been published on eHow. She has expertise in the fields of law, parapsychology and the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. She holds a degrees in law from Beckfield College.

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