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A few openings remain for the Downtown Washington Inc. Chili Cook-Off set for Friday, Sept. 27.

The cook-off will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on and around the Farmers’ Market and the Main and Elm parking lot.

The event serves as a kick-off to the Fall Festival of the Arts and Crafts, which will take place that Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28-29, along Main and Elm streets.

“We currently have 33 chili teams and could add a few more,” said Alex Hodschayan, Downtown Washington Inc. event coordinator.

To register, people may call the office at 636-239-1743. The entry fee is $35.

This year’s theme is superheroes. Teams will compete for best booth and costume, in addition to top chili honors.

Visitors to the cook-off will be able to vote for their favorite team by putting money in tip canisters, all of which gets donated to the Franklin County Area United Way. The United Way also will sell hot dogs and chips that night.

The cost to sample chili will be $7 if tickets are purchased in advance and $9 the day of the event and includes a commemorative chili mug.

Tickets can be purchased at the downtown post office.


Hodschayan said the Fall Festival is quickly taking shape with 60 crafters scheduled to show and sell their handmade items.

“Some of the artists and crafters have actually rented two spots, so we actually have 80 spots filled,” he said.

Hodschayan said visitors will find a variety of one-of-a-kind, including ceramics, pottery, jewelry, clothing, paintings, wood furniture, seasonal and holiday items.

“There’s lots for kids this year, including making your own stuffed animals,” he said.

The Charming Chairs auction will again be part of the festival. The chairs, donated and decorated by individuals, will be on display during the event and will be sold through a silent auction.

“We will have at least 12 to 15 chairs, maybe more, and as they come in we will put them on our Facebook page for people to check out and offer a buy it now option too,” Hodschayan said.

The family-oriented festival also will offer live music and a full food court.

To celebrate Washington’s German heritage, Strassenfest will again be part of the activities, featuring German decorations, microbrew beer, German-type food, German entertainment and a strudel bake-off.

The entertainment will kick off Friday night, Sept. 27, with Clay Caspari from 5 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 28, Solo Richie will play from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., followed by the Polka Connection from 2 to 6 p.m.

On Sunday, Sept. 29, the St. Louis Express Band will play from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29.

For more information, call the Downtown Washington Inc. office, 636-239-1743, or email events@downtownwashmo.org.