About This Project

Friday September 28, 5-7 pm,
Town Park

This year’s Mountain Harvest Festival will mark the 18th Annual Chili Cook-Off in the park. The cook-off is a signature part of Mountain Harvest Festival that is anticipated by many members of the community. The competition is open to any individual or organization, and is broken into five categories. Each category is judged by a secret panel of culinary experts, and all entries compete for the coveted People’s Choice award.


Prizes are as follows:

  • Best Green Chili $50
  • Best Red $50
  • Best Meatless $50
  • Best Exotic $50
  • Best in Town *Plaque* (for restaurants) (no cash prize)
  • People’s Choice $150




Fine chili should look good, smell good, and taste good. Accordingly each chili will be judged on the following criteria to arrive at a whole number score for each category of 0 to 10 with 10 being the highest. The secret panel of three culinary specialists will judge your delectable delights for: aroma, color, consistency, taste, after taste.


Note: Judges will begin tasting chili promptly at 4:30 pm, so be prepared to serve your chili shortly after set up.  Public tasting starts at 5:00 pm.

The People’s Choice award will be determined by the tasting public.  The cook with the most public votes will receive the highly coveted People’s Choice award.


Deadline to Register

The deadline to register as a cook is Friday, September 21.  Early birds get to pick their own set up location. The entry fee per chili is $10.  Late registration will be from September 22 to September 26, with a late fee of $25 per chili. Locations will be allocated by the Chili Cook-off coordinator.


When & Where

At 4:00 pm on Friday, September 28, check in at the Chili Cook-Off event area close to the stage.  You will be shown where to set up and will receive supplies needed for the evening. Judging will begin promptly at 4:30 pm.  All cooks must supply at least 2 gallons of chili.  Remember: The more chili you make, the more people can taste it and vote for it!


What You Need 

The day of the event you will need to provide your own method of heating your minimum of 2 gallons chili (propane stove, grill), wooden spoon, a table for your stuff, table cloth, and an umbrella or canopy if you desire.  We won’t have electricity.  Please no generators, as they make too much noise.


What We Provide

Tasting cups (1 oz), napkins, a small plastic table cloth, serving ladle, and a can for your People’s Choice votes.


About the Set Up

A small plastic table cloth, that visually identifies the category of your chili for the tasting public, can be used over your own table cloth.  If you choose to share equipment with someone, please note so on your entry form, so that we can make sure to place you at the same location.  We will do our best to accommodate other requests for placement.


Where to Register 

Registration forms are available at Don’s and City Markets’ bulletin boards, Paonia Farm and Home Supply, and Lizzy’s Market in Paonia. Mail your registration to Mountain Harvest Festival,  P.O. Box 1771, Paonia, CO  81428, or drop it off at Barkin’ Bargains Grand Ave., Paonia, CO  81428.  You can also

register online at



For more information contact Christel at (909) 565-0053.