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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024


Texas means different things to different folks. Cowboys, real and football. Cowboy boots and hats. The Georges, Bush and W. Bush.
To many native Texans, it means chili, no beans.
The Texas Society of the Virgin Islands 16th Annual Chili Cook-Off on Sunday not only gives St. Thomas a taste of Texas but raises tens of thousands of dollars for such groups as the Queen Louise Home for the Aged and St. Thomas Rescue. And it's catching on: Last year, police estimates put the crowd that streamed into Sapphire Beach Resort and Marina at more than 3,000.
With that in mind, organizers suggest getting there sooner in the day rather than later. The cook-off closes up shop at 6 p.m. Live music starts up around 11 a.m., and competitors start turning in their spicy concoctions around noon. There's even vegetarian chili among the offerings, though it's hard to imagine anyone from Texas stirring it up. Two-ounce tastes of chili from the competitors go for 25 cents a pop.
Speaking of pop, sodas will also be sold to wash down the chili, as will beer. The showmanship competition runs for two hours starting at 12:30 p.m.; last year, the Hard Rock Café put together its own "saloon." Games for kids and adults, including watermelon seed spitting, jalapeno eating and tug of war, start at 1 p.m.
Admission is free, and parking is available at Sapphire; those using overflow parking on the main road can take a $1 safari taxi shuttle to the cook-off.
There are prizes for first through 10th place in chili and first through third place winners in showmanship. The Grand Prize is two round trip tickets to the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) International Chili Cook-Off (www.chili.org) in Terlingua, Texas, the first weekend in November.
Anyone can take a shot at firing up their own chili for the cook-off, and you don't even have to be from Texas. For a complete rundown on rules and schedules, click here to go to Cook-Off Rules and Schedule .
For participants, there's a special Cook’s Party at Sapphire at 6 p.m. Saturday. Anyone interested in cooking or judging in this year’s cook-off can call Georgeann "Pepper" Peters at 776-3595.

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