When the weather turns a bit nippy and the frost is on the pumpkin, the time has arrived for the annual Chili Cook- Off in Downtown Wauseon. Fulton Street is blocked off as local hopefuls bring unique chili recipes to be tasted by a welcoming public. The chili is not sold to the public, but tasters buy a wrist band that qualifies them to vote for the best chili. Three tokens are given to each taster.
While the tasting progresses, a miniature wooden train carries children up and down the crowded streets, passing vendors and games. Parents stroll past pop-up tents where friends share baked goods, and other homemade items. As neighbors stroll along Fulton Street, they talk about Big Ten standings, local high school football games, garden harvests, and plans for the winter months ahead. Live entertainment, bands, dancing and vocalists accompany the general festive flavor of this delicious autumn event. Children gather to view the decorated pumpkins that they have submitted for competition, and face painters add art to the smiling faces.
As the Chili Cook-off draws to a close, and the voting is completed, the stage is opened for a final announcement of the winners of three prestigious awards: The People's Choice for Best Chili, The Mayor's Choice for Best Chili, and the Judges Choice for Best Chili. These coveted plaques are displayed for one year until the public gathers once again to choose Wauseon's best! Proceeds from the annual Chili Cook-Off are used to support family-oriented activities in the Wauseon community.