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SC Chili Cook Off Championships

Apr 13 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Come to the SC Chili Cook Off Championships in downtown Belton, one of the premier International Chili Society Sanctioned chili cook-offs on the east coast.  Vendors open at 10:00.  Sample from chili cooks from all over the United States starting at 11:00….salsa, homestyle, verde light, red light, verde and Red.   Hot chili eating contest at 1:00.  Live entertainment.  Sponsored by Industrial Maintenance Service and presented by the Belton Alliance.  Go to www.scchilicookoff.com or see the press release below for more information.

Chili cooksChili eating contest


South Carolina State Chili Cook-Off Championship lights the fires in Belton

Belton, SC – Are you ready to fire up your taste buds? It’s time for the South Carolina State Chili Cook-off Championship in Belton, SC.

Presented by IMS-Belton, the event will be held on the square in downtown Belton on April 13th, 2019, from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. In addition to good tasting chili and the healthy competition among professionals and amateurs, the one-day event will also feature the BAMA Plant Sale, the BCA Spring Studio Art Sale, a custom and classic cruise in car show, a children’s pageant, live radio broadcasts, and music.

“We are super excited about the event this year.  The work that has been laid out by the volunteers over the last several years has made this event one of the premier cook-offs in the southeast,” said “Fatt” Matt Lusk, Chairman of the South Carolina State Chili Cook-off Championship.

The South Carolina State Championship Chili Cook-off is sanctioned by the International Chili Society, one of the largest food festival organizations in the world.  Events like the one in Belton have enabled the ICS to raise over a million dollars annually for charity.

The South Carolina State Chili Cook-off Championship will benefit Belton Interfaith Ministerial Association (BIMA), Belton Center for the Arts (BCA), The Belton Area Museum Association (BAMA) and Shalom Recovery House.  At the end of the event, all profits will be distributed among these nonprofit organizations.

Lusk says, “We feel like these organizations give so much to our community that it is essential that we give back to them.”

The event is family-friendly and admission to South Carolina State Chili Cook-off Championship is free, but to taste chili, individuals must spend $5 for 5 tasting tickets or $15 for an unlimited tasting wristband.

Other events are going on around the square throughout the festival.  From 10 – 4, the Historic Belton train Depot will be open for visitors to explore the permanent exhibits in the SC Tennis Hall of Fame and the Ruth Drake Museum along with the temporary exhibits “Las Artes Decorativas:  The Art and Artifacts of Spain” and “The History and Traditions of College Football in SC.” Docents will be available to provide guided tours of the exhibits.    As always, admission to the museum is free.

The Belton Area Museum Association will also be selling spring bedding plants and hanging baskets at their tent on the square.

The Little Miss and Miss Chili Pepper Pageant is being held at Belton-Honea Path High School at 11 AM. Presented by the Belton Alliance, contestants will be crowned in 12 different categories from ages 0 months to collegiate age, and boys and girls are both encouraged to participate.  Entry fee is $45 per applicant and contestants must be registered by April 7.  Applications can be found at https://www.scchilicookoff.com/pageant.  Crowning will be made onsite and then winners will also be presented at the festival.

The Belton Center for the Arts is hosting a large spring studio art sale from 11 AM – 3 PM.  Locally talented artists will have their pieces available for purchase for $200 and lower.  Twenty-three artists including Al Stein, Ann Heard, Jean Niles, Dann Ward, Mary Ann Porter, Val Lowe, Katie Tillman and JoAnn Anderson will have their original works for sale.

“This is a great chance to pick up some wonderful original artwork from very gifted artists at a rock bottom price,” stated BCA Director Betsy Chapman.

On the cooking front, this ICS sanctioned contest includes three chili categories  – chili verde, salsa and traditional red chili.  Winners in each category will proceed to the next level of competition.  For the Belton event, this year’s competitors hail from as far away as Canada, California,  Texas, Connecticut, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania as well as local competitors from South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Over 40 have already signed up to compete in the professional category.

In addition to the professional competitors, local amateur cooks and organizations will be vying for two “People’s Choice” awards and prize money of $500 to the winners in each category.  More cooks are being sought for this portion of the competition, so go to https://www.scchilicookoff.com/peoples-choice to read the rules and sign up.  Entry fee is only $25 and competitors must provide at least 3 gallons of chili for the public to taste for voting.

Competition of a different type will occur in front of the stage at 12:30 PM. For a $10 entry fee, 10 lucky competitors will vie for a chance to win a Kindle Fire, a roll of TP, and Pepto Bismol if they can eat the most bowls of spicy chili in 5 minutes.  Sponsored by BestBuy, Commercial Bank, and Darby Metalworks, proceeds will benefit educational programming at the Belton Area Museum Association.

Rock 101.1, and WORD 106.3 will also be broadcasting live from the event. In addition, deejays Phillip and Tommy will be hosting their show, Upstate Outdoors, from 12 -2 PM on the ESPN Upstate station. The popular Hotrods and Happy Hour trailer will also be onsite, with Rob Pitts providing the upstate’s most popular voice for all things cars.

For those who want a taste of something different, funnel cakes, mini-donuts, ice cream, shaved ice, and boiled peanuts will be available for purchase.

Visitors can also help the victims of the recent landslides and hurricanes by donating blood during the event.

And The Combo Kings take the stage at 1 PM to increase the enjoyment of the crowd’s experience.  Expanding its local following and being recognized as a premiere band at the M. C. Handy Music Festival in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, last summer,  the group plays the best of old-time rock ‘n roll, blues, and gospel.

For those with an athletic bent, the Belton Area Museum Association is hosting a golf tournament at Saluda Valley Country Club on the Friday prior to the festival (April 13).  Four-man teams will be competing for great prizes in a shot-gun start captain’s choice format.  For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/179222612835131/ for an application.  Deadline for team admission is April 9 and the tourney will be limited to 10 teams.

Founded in 1967, the International Chili Society is an organization that sanctions nearly 200 chili cook-offs each year that are governed by ICS rules and regulations and a blind judging process. These events are worldwide and benefit charities or non-profit organizations.

Local winners of ICS sanctioned cook-offs qualify to compete for cash prizes and awards throughout the year. Top-level winners compete for a total prize package of $25,000 at the World’s Championship Chili Cook-off held each year in October.

One million spectators a year participate in ICS events by cooking, tasting, judging and having a good time, with World Champions crowned in each category–Traditional Red Chili, Chili Verde (green chili) and Salsa.

For more information on the South Carolina State Chili Cook-off Championship, please visit www.scchilicookoff.com or contact Matt Lusk at 864-940-3111 or by e-mail at [email protected]


Apr 13
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Belton City Square
Main Street
Belton, SC 29627 United States

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