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Big crowds are expected to turn out for this weekend’s Fall Festival of the Arts and Crafts in Downtown Washington.

The festivities, sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc., will begin Friday with a chili cook-off from to 5 to 8 p.m. in the area of the Main and Elm parking lot and under the Farmers’ Market.

The Fall Festival will open Saturday at 10 a.m. and run 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.

“Everything is shaping up quite well and we’ll be ready to go,” said Alex Hodschayan, Downtown Washington Inc. event coordinator.

“If the weather forecast holds, I think we’ll have a big turnout,” he said. “We also changed our marketing tactics this year to attract more visitors.”

Chili Cook-Off

Hodschayan said the chili cook-off will have about 31 teams competing for best chili honors, as well as best booth and costumes. This year’s theme is superheroes.

Visitors 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 Friday night for those looking for something other than chili, Hodschayan said.

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 still be purchased at the downtown post office.


The Fall Festival will feature about 62 artists and crafters who will have their handmade wares on display and for sale.

Hodschayan said some of the artists and crafters have actually rented two spots for bigger displays.

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.

“I think people will be impressed by what they see,” Hodschayan said.

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 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.

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