Arts and Entertainment

The people’s chili: Judge your favorites at Festival at Mount Si contest Sunday

Spicy competition in the What’s Cookin’ Chili Cookoff returns to the Festival at Mount Si on August 12. - Seth Truscott/Staff Photo
Spicy competition in the What’s Cookin’ Chili Cookoff returns to the Festival at Mount Si on August 12.
— image credit: Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

Simmering all day at the 2011 Festival at Mount Si, Sallal Grange’s big pot of chili was very much a community concoction.

Grange members on the team slipped all kinds of secret ingredients into the bubbling pot of beaf, sausage and beans. Every cook added something.

“I don’t think you could ever duplicate what it was we made,” said Grange member and 2012 Festival at Mount Si Grand Marshall Nels Melgaard.

That special creation won second place in the judge’s contest, but took the first-place crowd vote. It was the people’s chili.

Expect the Grange and plenty of other locals to grab their chili spoons and return to the What’s Cookin’ Chili Cook-off, sponsored by the North Bend Bar & Grill, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, on the festival grounds at Si View Park.

Be it fiery hot, just plain tasty or a whole new twist, you can test the mettle of your own chili recipe again this year.

The community sampling begins at 1 p.m. Awards are announced at 2:15 p.m.

Cooks compete for people’s choice and judges’ awards. The top soup chef gets a $300 cash prize, trophy and bragging rights. Judges are local restauranteurs, movers and shakers. The people’s choice is made by festival-goers, who pay $5 for a chance to taste the chili. Proceeds are donated to the festival.

All chili is cooked on site, and restaurant or professional teams are not allowed. Chili cooks often put their own spin on tried and true recipes. Some creations are savory, some sweet, but all are as individual as the quirky, creative teams that make them.

Cooks must put down a $35 deposit to hold their spot. The deposit is returned after the contest.

For more information on the competition, visit, or call (425) 888-8837. Rules and an entry application can be downloaded at


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