What is it? It’s the 25th Annual Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-off. Yup, here in the land of ribs and brisket, you’ll find the longest running vegetarian chili cook-off in the U.S.
The annual celebration of all things vegan and spicy includes chili tasting, music, kids activities and more. Whole Foods is hosting beer sales on site, so you even can grab a cold one to wash down your favorite chili (or put out the fire on a particularly hot one!)
Teams of chili chefs come from all over Texas to compete for the title of best vegetarian chili in one of two categories. Chili masters can also take home a People’s Choice Award for the crowd’s favourite bowl of spicy goodness.
The cook-off started in 1989 as the brainchild of Shirley Wilkes-Johnson, with help from the founders of the San Antonio Vegetarian Society, the South Texas Vegetarian Society (in Brazoria County, 60 miles south of Houston), the Austin Vegetarian Society, and the Vegetarian Society of Houston. For years, the event traveled around Texas, with cook-offs attracting vegetarians and open-minded omnivores from all over the Lone Star State. Finally, the annual cookoff settled in Austin, where it has grown and flourished, attracting up to a 1,000 hungry chili-lovers for the one-day event.
A quarter of a century after its founding, the cook-off is still going strong. And this year’s event promises to be one of the best. The new location in the green space adjacent to the Whole Foods on West William Cannon in South Austin offers easy access, free parking and lots of space for the cook-off, vendors, the kids’ area and the live music stage. Admission to the event is $10 for adults or teens, $7 for children age 6-12, seniors, veterans and college students (with current college ID), and includes lots of delicious chili.
They’re also offering Family Packs for $25, good for a family of up to four (one of which must be a child age 12 or under).
If you’d like to help this all-volunteer event to be an even bigger success, you can volunteer and earn free admission and other goodies. The volunteer deadline is Friday, Nov. 8th, so be sure to sign up to lend your support to this Texas tradition.
(And yes, I do know this “Taste of Austin Tuesday” didn’t show up until Wednesday. Just blame it on The Doctor….time can be slippery sometimes!)