Prepare your taste buds for 7th Chili for Children

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 10, 2016

Last year, between 1,500 and 2,000 people showed up to taste the sweet and smoky flavors of their neighbors’ chili recipes for a fundraiser of delicious proportions.

The Seventh Annual Chili for Children Cook-Off is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, outside Lady Luck Arena, 1380 Warrenton Road.

“This is our seventh year to do it and once the crowd gets there, it’s just so much excitement and just people having a good time,” Deloris Evans, station manager for The Radio People, said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

A total of 30 spots are open for aspiring chili cookers in this competition. There is no deadline to enter, but registration will close once all spots have been filled. The registration fee for a team of four is $50. Teams of more than four will be charged $5 for each additional member.

“If we have a spot open, you can sign up the day before,” Evans said. “There’s just not room for more than 30 teams.”

She said two years ago 30 teams entered and last year there were 28.

“The sooner they sign up, the better,” Evans said.

Teams must make at least five gallons of chili. Other than that, very few rules are given to the contestants for the competition. Evans said rules make the competition too serious and can discourage people from joining the competition. Instead, she wants to encourage all kinds of teams to enter. She said, the name of the game is to have fun and raise money for the Warren County Children’s Shelter.

“The main rule is, there are no rules,” Evans said. “It’s all about raising money for the kids, and we keep our restrictions to a minimum.”

Each team will have a 10×20 space to decorate, but will not have access to electricity. The teams will supply their own table, tent, decorations, cooking and serving equipment and can begin setting up at 7 a.m. the day of the competition.

Three judges have been given the task of finding the best chili in town based on aroma, flavor, consistency, aftertaste and color. Perry Boyd of T’beaux’s Blues Le Roux, Patty Mekus of the Southern Heritage Air Foundation and Daryl Hollingsworth of Live, Work, Play, Downtown Vicksburg will award a first place trophy with $150, a second place trophy with $75 and a third place trophy. Awards will also be given to the best decorated booth and for the people’s choice.

The rising waters of the Mississippi River will not impact the competition, even though the casino is located beside the river. Evans spoke with Lady Luck General Manager Paul Avery and said current forecasts show no issue with the location.

“Even if it rains, I think we’re still going to have fun,” Evans said. “We’re basically pretending like this water is not rising.”

She said the competition has experienced all kinds of weather, and this is just a new experience to add to the list.

“We’ve been very, very fortunate the weather has held out every year,” Evans said. “There have been some cold ones and there have been some hot ones.”

Admission to the cook-off will be $5 per person and children 5 and under are free. Raffle tickets for a hoverboard will be sold for $5.

Drinks, desserts and T-shirts will also be available for purchase at the event. There will be a kiddie corner complete with bouncy houses, balloon animals and face painting.

All proceeds will go to the Warren County Children’s Shelter.

“Every dime of it goes to the children’s shelter,” Evans said. “First place and second place gets money and the money does come from the proceeds, but nine times out of ten the teams that win donate it right back to the children’s shelter.”

The shelter’s program director Cindy McCarley said the fundraiser started small but has grown into a communitywide event. When she took the job at the shelter, she began praying for an event that would benefit the shelter and involve the community, and when organizers came to her with the idea of the cook-off, she was elated.

“It was perfect,” McCarley said. “One thing led to another and every year they are probably one of our biggest supporters.”

McCarley said this is one of the biggest fundraisers the shelter has annually.

The shelter provides 24-hour emergency shelter and counseling services for children and youth up to 17 years old.

To register a team, visit the chili4children Facebook page, call 601-636-2340 or email