South Carolina Chili Cook-Off Held Saturday, May 14
A Belton Alliance Event Featuring Hospitality, Food, Entertainment and Fun!
When spring hits the Upstate, Belton is the site of daffodils blooming, baseball bats cracking on the fields, and tasty chili being served up by internationally acclaimed cooks vying for their chance to claim bragging rights, cash prizes, and the adoration of epicureans everywhere.
The SC Chili Cook-Off Championships, presented by the Belton Alliance, celebrated its 12th anniversary May 14 & 15 this year. Professional cooks created yummy veggie chili recipes and astoundingly intricate meat chili bowls all in the name goodhearted competition while raising money for local charitable causes.
This International Chili Society sanctions the event which began on Saturday, May 14, at 10 AM On The Square in Belton. Professional cooks from the east coast and midwest competed in categories for a chance to progress to the International Chili Society World Championships later this year in Myrtle Beach.
Visitors tasted the various offerings from both professional and amateur cooks from 11:30 to 3:30. Other food vendors were present. A steady crowd was on hand to purchase tasting tickets. All profits from the event go to support 6 community non-profit organizations: The Belton Area Museum Association, Belton Center for the Arts, Belton Interfaith Ministries Association, Shalom House, 130 Masonic Lodge programs for children, and the Belton Alliance
Amateur cooks and organizations participated in Homestyle Chili Competition (judged by professional cooks) and People’s Choice. By providing at least three gallons of chili for sampling and paying a small entry fee of $25 to $30, competitors asked the crowds to vote their chili the best, and ultimately one winner will go home with a cash prize.
Gene Jameson, chair for this year’s event added: “It was a wonderful event for our county and brought the little city of Belton positive recognition from people coming from far away, plus it generates much needed financial support for community non-profit organizations!”
Live music during the event was provided by the Combo Kings and Rock 101 was on hand for a remote broadcast.
A cruise-in from 8 am – 1 pm was featured downtown and present by the Masonic Lodge. Many auto aficionados attended to show off all types of sports cars and vintage vehicles.
The crowning of the chili champion in each category (veggie chili, homestyle, people’s choice, verde, and red chili) was held at 4:30 PM.
A commemorative program was printed and made available to all attending.
Tie-in events were also part of the festival. The BAMA Chili Pepper Golf Tourney was held at Saluda Valley Country Club, and offered tons of great prizes to winners in several categories.
Sunday the festival, cooks participated in the Kegs-N- Eggs event at the Belton Recreation Center on Blue Ridge Avenue from 8:30 AM – 2 PM. This was a private event; spectators were welcome, but no sampling was available.
Mark your calendars now to compete, eat, and enjoy down home hospitality and fun at the 13th annual SC Chili Cook-off Championships in May, 2023!