Thursday is Thanksgiving, and that can only mean one thing for Dodge City, the annual Parade of Lights and Chili Cook Off is almost here!
This year, the unofficial kick-off of the holiday season takes place on Monday, Nov. 26 from 4:30 to about 8 p.m.
So far 16 different participants have signed up for the Chili Cook Off, but according to Jerri Imgarten, communications specialist for Victory Electric, it's not uncommon for participants to bring more than one chili, so that doesn't necessarily mean there will be 16 different types of chili, there will probably be more.
There's still time to sign up to be part of the cook off too, just fill out the entry form in the Daily Globe and return it to the office, or e-mail your name, contact information, what you would like to enter (parade or chili) and a brief description to email@example.com. The deadline to enter is Nov. 23. Call (620) 225-4151 for more information.
All types of chili will be at the cook off from the mild to spicy and even the unusual.
"We'll have a pineapple chili again this year," Imgarten said, "and one group that's registered will have each person make their own chili and then they'll dump all together in a big batch. Each recipe will be different, so who knows what the end result will be."
Each chili will be judged by a team of judges, and later in the evening the community can vote for their favorite too.
Last year the judges' choice winners were Leon Feldt (first), Mikey Goddard and Victory Electric crew (second) and United Wireless Arena (third). In people's choice the winners were Headcases Salon (first), United Wireless Arena (second) and Leon Feldt (third). All the winners will be back again this year to try and protect their title, except for United Wireless Arena who hasn't responded yet.
Chili judging will begin at 4:30 p.m. and the community can begin sampling at 5:30 p.m.
After the chili has been eaten, the Parade of Lights will begin. A new parade route has been chosen this year to help give the crowds more room to spread out and enjoy the show. The parade will begin at the Ford County Fairgrounds, go through Wright Park, then north on 2nd Street to Wyatt Earp Blvd. Next, go west on Wyatt Earp Blvd. to 5th Street, north to Front Street, go past Boot Hill (where the chili cook off has been moved to), then north on 3rd Street, west on Spruce and entrants can disperse from there.
"We think both changes will help the attendees be able to enjoy the parade and the chili without having to be so cramped," Nikki Dirks, advertising account executive for the Daily Globe said. "This way they don't have to be so crowded and congested."
Page 2 of 2 - As of Monday morning there were 18 parade entries, but again there is still time to sign up! Some of the entries include; boy scouts, the Mayor, Western Plains Medical Complex, the Kennel Club, Victory Electric and the CVB Trolley. The parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and once it ends the Mayor will light the Christmas tree next to the CVB at 3rd Avenue and Wyatt Earp Blvd.
Once again, the parade and all the chili tastings will be free to the public.
"We're excited to have so much participation from businesses and organizations in the community," Dirks said. "And it's fun to see the whole community come out and enjoy chili and the parade."