Chili Festival: Disappointments & Tummyaches Abound

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nate has been talking about the Prescott Park Chili Cook-Off for... well, since we began dating in July 2010. In 2009, he attended this event with friends, but we didn't make it last year when I was in town for a visit. This year, as chili fest weekend loomed nearer, he spread the word far & wide (OK, at work), & we prepared to gorge ourselves with the area's finest chili concoctions.

Accompanied by a friend, we rolled up to Portsmouth's Prescott Park around 2:00pm. Here's where I should note that the event website listed the chili festival as lasting from 10am until 5pm - meaning we had plenty of time to stuff ourselves with chili & beer.

Bursting with excitement & hunger, we paid the $15 cover, put down our $1 deposit on a spoon, bought eight drink tickets between us, & headed into the great unknown. Redhook Pilsner & chili spoon in hand, I was prepared:

But... tragedy struck. When we reached the chili arena (I made that term up), we found that local booths were already closing up shop. At stand after stand, we were told the chili was gone & no refills were coming! Only four booths of about 15 had chili left, so we hurriedly sampled the goods from the only local businesses still in the game: Mojo's BBQ Shack, Flatbread Company, Dos Amigos Burritos and TBT Subs. As the Flatbread chef was doling out scoops of their tasty vegetarian chili, the announcer's voice filled the park: "And now, it's time to announce our winners!" A single bowl of chili into the day, & we'd already missed the whole thing. We didn't get to vote, & we hardly got to eat!

OK, the truth is this: After four bowls of chili, I was beyond stuffed. But was it a leisurely experience? Did I get to choose from the chili I thought sounded tastiest? Was it an event worth $15 at the door without being told that it was basically over when we got there? A resounding "no" all around.

As the event came to a close, we raced to make use of our beer tickets:

And then went home to nap/disgest/gurgle. Overall? A bust. A delicious bust, but a hasty, disappointing bust nonetheless.

Hey, at least there were alpacas.

And they were for sale! That sure would show my neighbor with the really loud dog who's boss, huh? Take that, people in apartment #5!

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