Chili festivals were a springtime tradition in Old Town Elk Grove during the past decade, and a local nonprofit plans to revive the custom when they will host a chili cookoff at Elk Grove Regional Park on Sept. 11.
The End of Watch Fund is a nonprofit run by Elk Grove police officers who offer support to the families and colleagues of fallen law enforcement officers across the country. They are holding the chili competition and a classic car show as a fundraiser for their work. The winning chili team will earn a $1,000 cash prize.
Elk Grove Police Det. Casey Robinson, who is the End of Watch Fund’s president, told the Citizen they wanted to organize a fundraiser after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancelation of public events last year.
“We were looking for something to do outside,” he said.
During this year’s Independence Day season, the End of Watch Fund held a fundraiser by displaying dozens of U.S. flags on an open field along East Stockton Boulevard. The public was invited to sponsor each flag and post a message of support for fallen police officers and firefighters.
It is The End of Watch Fund’s custom to provide notes of support, water bottles, and snack bags to the attendees of funerals for fallen officers. They recently gave their support to those who attended the memorial for Stockton Police Officer Jimmy Inn who died in the line of duty this May. Robinson said that his nonprofit is working on a tribute to the fallen of the Sept. 11 attacks since their chili cookoff will be held on the 20th anniversary of those events.
Organizers are now registering class car owners as well as teams for the chili cookoff that runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Robinson said they signed up 10 chili teams so far. He added they want to bring at least 20 teams into the competition.
“Celebrity judges” such as police chiefs and fire chiefs will choose the contest winner, and there will also be a People’s Choice Award.
Admission to the festival is free while there is a $5 fee for a chili tasting kit. The event will be held north of Strauss Lake at the park, Robinson said.
Elk Grove Regional Park is at 9950 Elk Grove-Florin Road. For registration for the chili cookoff or the classic car show, visit the End of Watch Fund’s website, www.EndOfWatchFund.com/events.