There's an art to creating the perfect batch of chili. Jasper, being the Word on Columbia Arts, after all, naturally has an interest, not just in the chili itself, but also in the music featured at the 27th Annual Chili Cook-Off in Five Points, and of course in Camp Kemo and The Hope Center, which benefit from the day's proceeds.
You read that correctly - this really is the 27th annual event, which was started by Group Therapy, and continues in and around that block of Greene Street near the Five Points Post Office, just one block over from Columbia's 19th Annual Blues Festival which takes place the same day. (Meaning that as a child of the new millenium, you can indeed have it all.) This year the Five Points Association promises all sorts of upgrades to make the day all the more enjoyable, including more music, an expanded event area, additional food and beverage options, and more attractions for families (including those little festival attendees.)
First, there's a new entrance, at the intersection of Santee and Pavillion - that's just the back side (closer to the park and the post office) so as not to cause traffic jams on Harden Street. As you enter, you can grab a program, which includes a festival map, the entertainment line-up, details on the chefs, and some sidewalk sale info. And indeed, there is decidedly more room to move around in this year, as the "festival footprint" will cover the 2100 and 2200 blocks of Greene Street, AND the 700 and 800 blocks of Pavillion Avenue! Which sounds good to us - Jasper loves togetherness and all, but a little elbow room is nice too.
The event goes from 11 AM to 6 PM, and is of course free, and open to the public. Live music starts around 11:30 or so, with four, count 'em four bands playing throughout the day. Here's the roster:
11:30 am - 12:30 pm - The Other Brothers
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Bossman
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm - Atlas Road Crew
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm - Calvin and Friends
Meanwhile, the focal point of the day is of course the chili competition - and sampling all that the competitors have to offer. Beginning at 1 PM, in exchange for a donation, attendees can taste and enjoy chili from an estimated 50 or more competing teams. All proceeds from the event will go to Camp Kemo and The Hope Center, including sales from chili, beer and merchandise. All entries will be samples by a panel of judges, with awards going for: Overall Best Chili, Best Vegetarian, Best Edible Hot, Overall Best Set-Up, Best Bar/Restaurant and Best Fundraising.
New this year will be more choices for beer - mmmmmm....beer - in a Gourmet Beer Garden, and even some non-chili food items, courtesy of the Pawley’s Front Porch Food Truck. Other highlights of the festival include the Little Peppers' Place in the 800 block of Pavillion Street, a children's area, free and open to all ages, featuring a bounce house, a 15-foot mega slide, the Ladder 9 fire truck, face painting, sidewalk chalk, bubbles and more. In conjunction with the Chili Cook-Off, a number of Five Points shops and retailers will be offering sales and specials all day long during the Annual Fall Sidewalk Sale. Also look for the official “Merch” tent for brand new 2013 Chili Cook-Off men's and ladies tees, aprons and koozies. All proceeds from the sale of merchandise also go to Camp Kemo and The Hope Center.
Camp Kemo is a weeklong summer camp for patients with cancer, ages 5-18, and their siblings. Staffed by Palmetto Health physicians, nurses and volunteers, Camp Kemo allows campers to swim, boat, hike and be kids. The fun times at Camp Kemo lay important groundwork for future treatment as participants learn to trust, respect and relate to one another. Camp Kemo is completely funded by community donations. The Hope Center assists people with disabilities in meeting their needs, pursuing their dreams and achieving their goals; their goal is also to minimize the occurrence and reduce severity of disabilities through prevention. The event is presented by the Five Points Association, a non-profit organization whose principle task is ensuring that Five Points stays an integral and important part of the city of Columbia. For more information on the vent, visit www.FivePointsColumbia.com. or the event page on Facebook.
~ August Krickel