By Joshua Estabrooks

Special to The Pioneer

Excitement for the annual Spilli Chili Cookoff Festival is beginning to simmer over as the events date fast approaches. On Saturday, May 31st from noon to 6 p.m., chili makers and chili lovers alike are invited to attend the popular festival and either showdown with a live cook-off, or bring their finished chili and rev it up on site.

The event has been very well attended in the past, said one of the organizers, Richard Unger, and with a new health inspector in the valley the previous stumbling blocks have been removed and the event is set to please even the pickiest palette.

With some of the regulations last year it reduced the number of willing chefs because not everyone has access to a commercial kitchen, Unger said. But now thats not required.

The festival is open to anyone and everyone, and will include vendors, musical entertainment and, of course, a ton of chili. It takes place on the traditional Spillimacheen Festival Grounds, in Spillimacheen, BC. All proceeds from ticket sales (Adults are $5 and Children 12 and under are free) go to support Columbia Valley food producers, which includes the beef and ranching community as well as local produce and agricultural producers.

Its really a celebration of our community and it is one of the first outdoor events of the summer season, Unger added.

Last year the festival saw approximately 500 people attend, but with a full roster of cooks this year Unger hopes the crowds will grow even larger, he said. New to this year will be a fully licensed beer garden, and as always, pet owners are asked to leave their furry friends at home.

Theres still time to sign up as a cook, a vendor or a musical entertainer. To do so, or to lend a hand in any other capacity, get in touch with the Spilli-Chili people through their website at