15 01 Dirtbag AlesThe annual Hope Mills Chili Cookoff is expanding this year to include a fall festival that will offer a variety of events for the entire family. The event is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 9, from 1-5 p.m. at Dirtbag Ales.

For the second straight year, the chili cookoff will be held at Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom at 5435 Corporation Drive just off Interstate 95.

The chili cookoff used to be held in conjunction with Ole Mills Days. This is the second year it’s been hosted by Dirtbag Ales and the first since the relatively new Hope Mills business has completed construction at its new location.

Kelly Spell of the Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce said the chamber decided to make the event more family-friendly by adding a variety of carnival-style activities to the agenda.

There will be face paining, cornhole boards, potato sack races and music from a live band.

Other activities include a hula hoop contest, a candy apple station and a hot chocolate bar.

Some of the event sponsors will also offer other games.

But the centerpiece of the activities will be the chili cookoff itself.

15 02 ChiliSpell said entries are still being sought for the competition. The fee is $20 per entry, and each entrant needs to bring a prepared crockpot of chili containing at least five quarts.

To enter into the competition, go to hopemillsareachamber.com and click on the menu option for Event Ticket.

The cookoff also welcomes vendors who would like to purchase a table to promote their business for $100 per table.

There are two categories of chili cookoff competition — mild and spicy. Three cash prizes will be awarded in each category.

There will also be a people’s choice award presented.

All those entered in the chili cookoff need to arrive no later than 12:30 p.m. to allow time to set up all the tables for the entries.

Both the judges and public involved in the people’s choice award will taste-test each chili without knowing who made which batch.

The deadline for submitting an entry in the chili cookoff is Friday, Nov. 8, to allow chamber officials time to determine how many tables will be needed for the competition.

All contestants need to make sure to label their chili mild or spicy so it is entered in the correct competition.

For further information, call Kelly Spell at the chamber office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The phone number is 910-423-4314. You can also email her at hmacc@hopemillschamber.org.

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