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Wabash Chili Cook-Off: My Return as Judge

Wabash Chili Cook-Off Judging at Paradise Spring Historical Park in Wabash, Indiana: Before (and I ran out of spoons!)
Wabash Chili Cook-Off Judging at Paradise Spring Historical Park in Wabash, Indiana: Before (and I ran out of spoons!)
little Indiana was thrilled to help judge chili for the Wabash Chili Cook-Off for Charity at Paradise Spring Park in Wabash, Indiana.

It’s not every day that you get an offer like that! I happily headed to Wabash, Indiana!

Wabash Cannonball Chili Cook-Off in Wabash, Indiana

For those who don’t know, this is a really big event for this small Indiana town. One hundred and twenty booths set up space and dished out their version of chili.

Everyone uses some sort of  theme and many wear costumes, and some put on quite a show! Chili Cook-Off goers get 10 tickets to give to their favorite booth. The winning ones get People’s Choice awards–and proceeds go to local charities.

I was happy to see Bill Gerding again. You may remember him as the hilarious owner of the delicious Market Street Grill restaurant in downtown Wabash. He’s got a big hand in keeping this chili cook-off going and growing.

I trudged over to the Pavilion on that chilly afternoon, took a seat with the rest of the group, and got ready to judge!

Wabash, Indiana Chili Cook-Off Event

Wabash Chili Cook-Off Judging at Paradise Spring Historical Park in Wabash, Indiana: Jessica Nunemaker, Chili Judge
Wabash Chili Cook-Off Judging at Paradise Spring Historical Park in Wabash, Indiana: Jessica Nunemaker, Chili Judge
The guy from CASI, the Chili Appreciation Society International (no, I am not making this up) had forms for us. There are strict rules to follow for those who enter to keep it fair and anonymous. I had to sign and print my name to show that I agreed and understood the rules–and got ready for the first round of chili, from regular folks (not restaurants).

I grabbed the Styrofoam cup in front of me, popped the lid, dug in a plastic spoon, and tasted. Some were delicious and some…um, not so much. I wrote down each score on a scale of 1 – 10.

After each bite, the spoon went in with the rest of the dirty spoons and I had to cleanse my palate with a cracker or a sip of beer. Yes, the life of little Indiana is hard indeed!

The restaurant judging went the same. I tasted, I kept score, and I sipped. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Go There

Wabash Chili Cook-Off Judging at Paradise Spring Historical Park in Wabash, Indiana: The Judging Table
Wabash Chili Cook-Off Judging at Paradise Spring Historical Park in Wabash, Indiana: The Judging Table
I haven’t even gotten to the booths! Stay tuned for loads of funny photos (I’m looking at you Batman and Fit Chili) and even a video in the weeks to  come.

If you haven’t made it to this grand Wabash County event, you will want to make plans to head out next year. It’s always a ton of fun!

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

Just don’t forget to tell ‘em that  little Indiana sent you!

Wabash Cannonball Chili Cook-Off
Paradise Spring Historical Park
351 East Market Street
Wabash, Indiana 46992

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About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of little Indiana.com. More than a website, little Indiana is a PBS segment on the state-wide program "The Weekly Special," a bi-weekly column in a local newspaper, and soon to be a book! Look for "little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" published by Indiana University Press in early 2016--just in time for Indiana's BIG 200th Birthday Celebration! Jessica Nunemaker is happy to speak about small towns, creating community, or Indiana tourism at your next event, large or small.

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2 comments

  1. Jessica Nunemaker

    Ha ha! Definitely a great time to help out! I so need to food judge more often. :)

  2. I am definitely envious of this responsibility! How do I get drafted into this? LOL

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+Jessica Nunemaker