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Chili Fest is Oct. 4
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MONROE - Cookers and consumers alike are in for a day filled with a real zest for food and fun when they gather on Monroe's historic Square for the 17th annual Chili Fest Saturday, Oct. 4. The event, planned and executed through the Monroe Main Street program, is sponsored by Amcore Bank and Big Radio, along with support from many other businesses and dozens of volunteers. Co-chairmen are Cherie Hughes and Barb Gelbach.

People interested in cooking chili or making salsa may visit to obtain registration forms and rules regarding the competition part of the festival. Information is also available by calling the Main Street offices at 328-4023. There is a $20 registration fee to enter the chili cooking event. Cooks will be able to begin setting up at 7 a.m. with judging set to begin at noon. The judging panel, which will include numerous local and regional "celebrities," will award first, second, and third prizes in the traditional category, first and second prizes in non-traditional entries. There is also a people's choice category, determined by the public, which can purchase samples for 25 cents or $1 for a bowl. First and second prizes will be awarded in the salsa category.

This year's event will include a host of old and new activities, including a beer tent and live music from 1-8 p.m., featuring the Stateline Playboys and the Jefferson County Bluegrass Band. Other attractions include various food stands, a silent auction, a scarecrow contest, the Market on the Square, tractor and motorcycle displays. Children's activities are planned for the Kid's Korner from 1 to 4 p.m., and artisans will set up on the Courthouse lawn, including a quilter, blacksmith, spinner, rug hooker, broommaker, knitter, crocheter, furniture maker, wood chip and chainsaw carvers.