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Cowboy Up: Chili Cook-Off & Western Roundup This Saturday

The popular event features a panel of celebrity judges this year.

Hold on to your hats—it’s chili cook-off time. And this year promises even more fiery entries, boot-stomping fun and, for the first time, a panel of celebrity judges who will award the evening’s hottest prize—the Big Jalapeño.

The eighth annual Chili Cook-Off & Western Roundup will spice up the night Saturday at St. John of the Cross Parish Hall. Sponsored by the Soroptimist International of Lemon Grove, event chair Jennifer Mendoza says the competition is easily the most loved event on the Lemon Grove calendar.  

“The cause is good,” Mendoza said. “We give every penny to the Lemon Grove Holiday Food & Toy Drive, the Lemon Grove Food Bank and programs to improve the lives of girls and women.”

Chili chefs include the Mayor and City Council members, as well as City Council candidates, the Lemon Grove Fire Department, the Lemon Grove HEAL Zone, service clubs, business owners and home cooks.

The crowd will decide who gets the People’s Choice Award, while a quartet of judges will choose the night’s big winner in a blind taste-test contest.

Making that call are Superintendent Ernie Anastos, Trustee Blanca Brown, City Attorney Jim Lough, and City Manager Graham Mitchell—himself an award-winning chili cook. In January, Mitchell took first place in a friendly competition at City Hall that raised money for the City Slickers Relay for Life team.

The event also features a silent auction, and cake raffle.

Tickets are $15 per person for the cook-off, which gives attendees access to all the chili entries and a buffet of fixings. Raffle tickets are $1 each, or six for $5.

The cook-off takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at St. John of the Cross Parish Hall. For more information, call 619-741-6748, or e-mail johnjennymen@cox.net.

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