Umatilla Chili Cook-off Return This Friday

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Bring your taste buds and antacids to Umatilla High School on Friday for the 16th annual Umatilla Chili Cook-off, where audience votes will determine the best chili in Umatilla.

For 15 years, the Umatilla Kiwanis Club hosted the annual Chili Cook-off, but the event is under new management this year. The Umatilla Kiwanis Club has disbanded, and the Umatilla Lions Club will take over the chili feed, according to longtime event organizer Cathy Putnam.

“It’s just a case of too many other things, everyone being stretched thin,” Putnam said. “The Lions Club is taking it over, and the money will go into our community fund. In the past, we’ve brought eye glasses, screening clinics, and, of course, the Haunted House.”

The event will continue its same format under the Lions Club banner: community members will prepare a chili entry and compete against each other for votes. For $3, anyone can become a judge and sample as many entries as they would like.

All tasters will be able to cast ballots, and the cook with the most votes will win the title of best chili in Umatilla for 2014.

“We will have prizes for first, second and third, but the most important thing is the bragging rights,” Putnam said.

The event will also include a dessert auction.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Friday in the commons at Umatilla High School, and cooks are welcome.

“If you’d like to participate, just bring your chili by at least 15 minutes before,” Putnam said. “You’re welcome to come.”

For more information, contact Putnam at 541-922-328.