Event fundraising

Idaho City Chili Cook-off is a big event for this mountain community

IDAHO CITY, Idaho — The annual Idaho City Chili Cook-off contest represents the end of the winter celebration in Idaho City, but it also marks one of the biggest tourist days for this mountain community.

For 36 years, businesses and visitors have participated in a chili cookout that brings people to Idaho City for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

“It’s a big deal, there are thousands of people here and we’ve pre-sold 800 ceramic bowls, so we’re really excited,” said Rhonda Jameson of the Idaho City Chamber of Commerce. “There’s a lot of community pride, we’re very excited about that.”

The businesses welcome people to Idaho City for this event, but they also participate in the contest because Trudy’s Kitchen asks the manager and her husband to cook chili while the owners work in the restaurant.

Trudy’s Kitchen helps raise money for the school, there is a booth for the senior center, and the East Boise County Ambulance District also uses this event as a fundraiser.

“This is one of their biggest opportunities to be able to fundraise for their local organizations,” Jameson said.

Idaho City is the big winner because 20 contestants cook pots of chili, but they don’t sell their chili, it’s judged, and then they distribute it to people who pay Idaho City to get a ceramic bowl.

The Spice Girls are a group that came from Boise to compete and while their main goal was to have fun and beat Steve Twilegar in the contest, they also love helping out this small town.

The Spice Girls

“It really means a lot that we love coming here in the summer in the winter, we love the hiking trails, we love the snowshoe trails and being able to support the city is super awesome,” Kacee said. “Yeah, I grew up in the area and I love Idaho City,” Kevie said.

Jameson told us that the funds would be used to spruce up the city of Idaho and that they are planning a grand new entrance for the city.