Heart O’ Texas hosts second annual Chili Fest

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The Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo scholarship fund is putting on its second annual Chili Fest this Saturday.

The Chili Fest will take place in Heritage Square in downtown Waco at Third Street and Austin Avenue. The Chili Fest starts at 10 a.m., and there will be a public tasting and live band.

Local band The Steve Smith Group will perform at the event. They played at the event last year as well. They classify themselves as a classic rock and country band and were founded in 2011.

“We have a little bit of entertainment for everyone,” said Mike Lewis, who is a committee member of the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo Scholarship Committee. The event will not only be a source of family-friendly fun, but will also benefit the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo Scholarship Fund.

Twenty chili teams will compete for cash prizes. For $10 the day of the event or $8 in advance, the public can get an official chili-tasting cup to allow them to taste all 20 teams’ chili from noon to 3:30 p.m. The Steve Smith Group will play from noon until 6 p.m.

“I think the biggest draw is people really love chili and trying all the different types of chili,” said Charva Ingram, vice president of marketing and sponsorship development for the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo.

In addition to the band and chili cook-off, there will be a mechanical bull, poker run, different vendors and a kids’ area. The kids’ area will have face painting, a prize wheel and games.

People who want to participate in the poker run can purchase a ticket for $20. This ticket will have a map of seven vendors they must visit, and each vendor will have an envelope with playing cards in it. Once seven cards are collected from different vendors, the participant will take the cards to the sales tent. The best five-card hand of all the participants will win a first-place prize of $200.

The fest will give away $1,600 total in cash prizes. The winning chili team will receive $800 plus a victory trophy. The team who wins people’s choice and the team with best showmanship will each be awarded $400. Some of the vendors that will be present include Fuzzy Friends Rescue, Silverleaf Resorts and Premier Designs Jewelry.