Last weekend’s 38th annual Mexican National Chili Cookoff pulled in thousands of visitors for three straight days of food, fun and shopping at the Tobolandia fairgrounds, all in support of eight lakeside humanitarian causes.
Attendance peaked on Saturday with around 1,600 people entering the premises, notably the throng of aging rock-and-rollers who packed in to catch a full bill of all-American sounds.
Friday audiences likewise enjoyed the extensive repertoire of golden oldies performed by Guadalajara’s The Time Machine, the day’s lead act. Standing out in Sunday’s entertainment program was the ancient ritual dance routine presented by the fearsome masked Tastoanes from Tonala.
Gathering clouds Friday and Saturday threatened a wash-out reminiscence of 2012’s soggy cookoff, but nature held off the cloudbursts right up to closing time.
The only let-down was this year’s lackluster competition component, once at the very heart of the event. Cookoff organizers were left in the lurch by a number of last-minute cancellations and no-shows. But the situation only boosted the odds for the registered margarita mixers and chili cooks who kept their commitments.
Head honcho Bob Howe wrapped up the humongo happening with his heartfelt thanks to corporate sponsors e-Sun Energy, Coca Color and Dos Equis-Tecate Beer, fellow members of the 2016 steering committee and the scores of hard-working volunteers who made it all happen. With a fond farewell after four years in charge, he announced he has hung up his apron and passed the president’s spoon to long-time raffle co-director Jacque Bouchard.