South Fork Chili Fest heats up fall weather

Courtesy photo The annual South Fork Chili Fest was a spicy success last Thursday as 14 contestants vied for the top spot in three categories, salsa, red and green chili. The South Fork Community Center was packed to the brim with hungry people throughout the night and not a drop of chili remained. 

SOUTH FORK — Hundreds of chili enthusiasts gathered in the South Fork Community building on Thursday, Oct. 13, to taste some of the best chili and salsa around. The annual South Fork Chili Fest has been an area favorite for several years and though it slowed down during the COVID-19 pandemic, no one who attended Thursday night would have known.

The community center was once again packed from wall to wall with people. The lively chatter of conversation and laughter set the atmosphere as people lined up along booths creatively decorated with a western theme. Participants came from all over, including from Lake City, to compete in the chili competition.

There were professional chefs from locally owned restaurants, local and visiting organizations as well as residents participating and vying for the top spot in three categories. There was a prize for the Best Table Décor for the night and as people made their way from one table to the next, comments were made about how delicious the evening’s concoctions were.

“Dusty and his crew outdid themselves. It was such a wonderful event,” stated one taster.

There were 14 contestants that participated in the event. The first-place winner in the red chili category went to Terry Watson. Second place in red chili went to Doc’s Outdoor Sports. First place in the green chili category went to Cheryl MacIntosh from Tiny Timbers Coffee and Bistro and second place for the green chili went to Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant.

In the salsa category, first place went to Cheryl Wheeler with the Church of Christ and second place went to Barbara Cowman.

For the Best Table Décor, Mark Zecker from Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Office won the top prize.

Up next, the South Fork Friends Foundation is gearing up for the coming holiday season and is in the process of planning another wonderful Winter Festival at the Rio Grande Club in South Fork. The event will feature several visiting and local vendors and will offer the perfect holiday venue for some unique shopping opportunities. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition, the SFFF will also be lighting up South Fork during its annual Yuletide celebration. Details will be announced as they become available.