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Teams cook up chili for contest
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MONROE - Who is the best chili cooker in the stateline area? The answer will be revealed at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 when judges announce their picks during the city's 17th Annual Chili Cook-Off, organized by Monroe's Main Street program.

Teams of chili cookers will set up at 7 a.m. and begin firing up their equipment at 8 a.m. Soon thereafter spicy aromas of mouth-watering chili will waft throughout the chili festival area on Monroe's historic downtown Square. Chili-cooking takes four hours, but plenty of activities are scheduled to entertain and interest the entire family between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. A Kid's Korner, arts and crafts, live entertainment, Market on the Square, all types of food stands, a psychic reader, a beer garden, and tractors and motorcycle displays are just a few of the attractions planned throughout the day.

Judging begins at noon in both traditional and non-traditional categories. The popular "people's choice" award is selected by the public "tasters" who will have a chance to buy samples for 25 cents from any or all of the cookers and cast their own votes for their favorite chili. People can also purchase a bowl of chili from any of the cookers for $1. Proceeds from the event are distributed to local charitable organizations.

Judging also includes something new this year: A salsa-making competition.

The Chili Cook-Off's major sponsors in 2008 are Amcore Bank and Big Radio, with help from many other businesses and dozens of volunteers. Information is available online at www.downtownmonroewisconsin; by e-mailing: or by calling (608) 328-4203. Chili cooks can obtain registration forms online or at das Baumhaus or The Dilly Bean located on the Square. Chili Cook-Off co-chairmen are Cherie Hughes and Barb Gelbach.