The success of the 24th annual York Jaycees' chili cookoff depends on one ingredient - and you won't find it in the chili.
Mother Nature and her weather mood will determine whether the crowds are big or small.
"We're spending our time praying for nice weather," said Carrie Reich, chairwoman of the event. "That's a big factor."
Officially known as the Chili Cookoff and Salsa Smackdown, the event will be held rain or shine. In addition to the 15 teams who will offer their tasty chili creations, organizers added the Ridiculously Raging Hot Chili Relay this year.
What is that, you ask? Reich described it as eating spicy food, downing a beverage or two and then attempting some type of physical activity. An "awesome prize pack" is at stake.
"It's free to enter for anybody who's crazy enough," Reich added.
Entertainment will be provided by The Ryan Myles Band, who will perform rock covers, and Headstrong, a Lancaster-based band.
"They've been winning awards and stuff for their songwriting," Reich said. "They have sort of a country-rock feel."
Each team designates a charity to receive a portion of the admission proceeds and any prize money won. Teams also have a bucket at their stand, where people can make direct contributions.
Money raised from beer sales, sponsorships and other activities pays for the prizes, awarded for grand champion, team spirit, stand decoration and hottest chili.
"We have quite a few new teams this year, so people who have been out before have something new to look forward to," Reich said.
Attendees can sample all the chili and salsa creations. Children younger than 10 years old are admitted free and children's entertainment will be provided.
The York Revolution will take on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at 6:30 p.m. The Jaycees have a limited number of $5 tickets on its website at www.yorkchilicookoff.com.
- John Hilton,
If you go
WHAT: York Jaycees' Chili Cookoff and Salsa Smackdown
WHERE: Sovereign Bank Stadium, 5 Brooks Robinson Way, York
WHEN: noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 26
COST: $10 at the gate
DETAILS: Visit www.yorkchilicookoff.com