In two weeks, the 500 block of Central Avenue in Downtown Laurel will be transformed. The familiar booths will line the street as local folks walk between them enjoying their wares; judges will make their rounds, whispering about this ingredient or that.
But, this time, there’s something a little different in the air. You see, the annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off is about more than chili recipes and fabulous prizes, it’s about the impact you’ll see long after the contest is over.
Did you know that $1 spent at a local restaurant can result in 88 cents returning to the local economy? That’s nearly double the amount of retail stores and other local businesses, and over 4 times the return from big box stores and national chains. Local restaurants help fuel the economy like no other business, and events like the Chili Cook Off go a long way toward attracting our best chefs and entrepreneurs to the downtown area.
In addition to sparking the imaginations of Laurel entrepreneurs, the Chili Cook Off also serves to directly impact the downtown area by helping to fund the LMS Facade & Amenities grant. This grant helps downtown business owners improve the exterior facade of their buildings, provides amenities like parks, benches and trash receptacles, and helps to build the economic strength of our beautiful downtown.
Want to compete in this year’s cook off?
Does your organization, business or group have a team ready to face the competition during the 2015 Chili Cook Off?
Register before February 16 here!
The competition is fierce every year as teams compete to win it all! See what Bobby has to say about it:
What you can expect from the 4th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off
On Saturday, February 21st from 10:00 to 2:00 you might find yourself standing amidst the booths on Central Avenue, listening to music from local DJ Jim Thornhill while taking in the delicious smell of over 22 different chili recipes. The teams, competing for the $1000 prize and consisting of local groups, organizations, businesses and more, will be waiting to fill your “bottomless” Carl Buchanan pottery bowl as you make your own judgements of who should take home the prized chili trophy.
If you come early, you’ll get to watch as each team prepares their recipe from scratch. No pre-chopping or cooking is allowed! Each team will prepare and cook their secret chili recipe right out in the open for all to watch. Judges will circulate at noon, watching and waiting for their chance to decide who will win it all.
Children will get free all-you-can-eat chili and hot dogs, while adults will enjoy either the $10 all-you-can-eat bowl or the $25 “bottomless” Carl Buchanan keepsake pottery bowl beginning after the judging at 12:30. A raffle will be held at the end of the event and the winner will take home a 10 gal cast iron Bayou Classic Jambalya pot and tripod stand. Tickets for the raffle are $10 for 1 or $20 for 3 and can be purchased from any LMS member or at the event.
Art activities will be available for children of all ages!
Thank you to our incredible Sponsors and Producers!
Events like the Chili Cook Off just wouldn’t be possible without the support and backing of local businesses. These sponsorships help pay for the prizes, supplies and more! Their donations also help fund the Laurel Main Street Facade & Amenities grant and are directly responsible for the improvements you see in Downtown Laurel.
Our Signature/5-Alarm Sponsor
This year’s signature sponsor is Magnolia State Bank. We are so thankful that they provide financial support and helping hands every year to make this great event a successful one.
Our Blazing Sponsor
Our Hot Sponsors
Our Spicy Sponsor
Event producers provide in-kind support of the event by providing products, services or advertising to make the event a reality. Our valued producers this year are Mandy and Carl Buchanan, who provide our beautiful “bottomless” chili bowls, Raising Cane‘s who provides tea and lemonade, Studio 550 for helping to organize the event, and the Laurel Leader Call and The Chronicle for providing advertising space.
The 2015 Chili Trophy Tour
Before the event, watch for updates from us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter about the 2015 Traveling Chili Trophy Tour! The beautiful chili trophy, carved by chainsaw artist Dayton Scoggins, will be on display at various restaurants throughout Downtown Laurel during lunch or dinner. Take a photo of the trophy and post it to social media with the hashtag #chilitrophytour2015, tag Laurel Main Street, and you’ll be entered to win a FREE long-sleeve Laurel Main Street t-shirt!
The 2015 Chili Trophy Tour will kick off this Friday, February 13 at Cafe La Fleurs in Downtown Laurel. It will remain there through Valentine’s Day, Saturday February 14, during their special opening hours for the holiday. Be creative with your photo and show off your #iliveinlaurel spirit!
Join us February 21, 2015 in Downtown Laurel for the 4th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!