Downtown Washington Inc. will host its annual Fall Festival of the Arts and Crafts this weekend, beginning with a chili cook-off Friday night.

Some 31 teams were scheduled to compete for best chili bragging rights at the cook-off, held from 5 to 8 p.m. in the area of the Main and Elm parking lot and under the Farmers’ Market.

The Fall Festival opens Saturday at 10 a.m. and runs through 6 p.m. Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to the art and craft booths, there will be live entertainment, Strassenfest, a food court and a Charming Chairs silent auction.

“The weather forecast looks good, except for possibly some rain Saturday night,” said Alex Hodschayan, Downtown Washington Inc. event coordinator.

“We’re expecting big crowds and we’ll be ready for them,” he added.

All “tips” the chili teams receive Friday night will be given to the Franklin County Area United Way, which planned to sell hot dogs and chips for those looking for something other than chili.


Hodschayan said the Fall Festival will feature about 62 artists and crafters who will have their handmade wares on display and for sale along the downtown streets near the Main and Elm parking lot.

“Visitors will find a variety of one-of-a-kind items,” he said, “including ceramics, pottery, jewelry, clothing, paintings, wood furniture, as well as seasonal and holiday items.”

A Charming Chairs silent 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.

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

The entertainment kicked off Friday night with Clay Caspari from 5 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, 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, the St. Louis Express Band will play from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.