Gates open to the public Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Ridge Ferry Park rain or shine with teams and volunteers ready to welcome the crowds. Admission is $5 per person and children 5 and under are free. Free parking is available nearby with parking closer to the cooking area available for a fee.
Once inside the gates, make sure to pick up a people’s choice ballot to vote for your favorite chili. The cook off is a great way to feed a family. Where else can you get all you can eat for only five dollars each?
There are close to 80 recipes entered so far and there is still time to enter your team’s recipe. Teams can register online at http://coosavalley.tu.org. The fee is $50 per recipe and includes four arm bands, two T-shirt coupons, an official cook-off apron and flag as well as reserving your choice of cook sites. Teams cooking more than one recipe must pay an additional $50 fee that also gives the team the perks mentioned above.
If a team wishes to buy additional arm bands they will have to do so at the cook-off at the TU cabin or the entry gate. Teams can also register on-site Friday evening.
The Coosa Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited always tries to add extra things for the public at the cook-off. Besides the obvious of more types of chili than most folks can imagine, there is live music almost all day Saturday. There are also vendors who will have drinks, snacks and food other than chili for the folks who either have eaten too much chili or just want something other than chili. As always the park has a huge playground for the kids to enjoy.
ARF, Animal Rescue Foundation of Rome Floyd County Inc., will hold a car show featuring classic cars in the park to benefit the nonprofit, while Dukes’ Military Museum will have an assortment of military vehicles for all to enjoy. Both of these attractions are part of the cook-off and visitors must enter through the cook-off gate to get to them.
Before live music kicks off on Saturday a group of square dancers and cloggers known as The Stompers will perform for the crowds beginning at 11 a.m. The dancers will be followed by singer and pianist Jordan Denton. We also have Audi Burchette accompanied by Brad Beavers.
Jeremy Gaskin will also be on stage and local favorite John Schroeder will be on drums with his band. The results of cook-off judging and the people’s choice award winners will be announced sometime between 3 and 4 p.m.
Last year we gave away a hand built cedar strip canoe and this year we have more to give away. This year there will be a Yeti cooler that will be raffled and definitely given away during the awards ceremony. We are also selling raffle tickets for an Old Town Predator fishing kayak, the winner of which will be announced during the awards if enough tickets are sold at that time.
Dream Trip raffle returns
In addition to the drawing for the Yeti cooler and the Predator kayak, we will have tickets available for the 2019 Dream Trip raffle. As usual the trip is for two to a private cabin in Idaho just outside Yellowstone National Park.
The six day, five night stay includes deluxe meals prepared by host and fishing guide John McGarity. The winner and their partner will each receive their choice of fly rods — a Winston BIII-x or Air 4, 5, or 7 weight rod. The rods come complete with a scientific anglers fly line and a reel completely rigged.
The winner will also receive $500 to help offset travel expense as well as two boxes of flies tied just for the trip. There are a bunch of other prizes for runners up that are too numerous to list. The drawing will be held for the Dream Trip sometime in late March at the Hoot on The Hooch.