If you think food is a transformative art form, consider expressing yourself through the medium of chili on Saturday.
The annual Shafter Colours art celebration has added a competitive food element, and the contest is open to all original recipes. Categories include traditional chili, without beans; nontraditional, such as chili verde or chili Colorado; as well as a category for professionals who want to exhibit their masterpieces.
If you consider yourself more an art aficionado than a creator, you can paint your mouth's palate in flavors ranging from mild green to spicy red as you sample entries from a variety of culinary artists.
The $10 admission price includes a "chili head" badge, a special taster cup, for unlimited samples of chili, and a drink ticket. Tasters will be given three People's Choice tickets to deposit at the booth of their favorite chili artist, according to Arlie Smith, longtime Shafter resident and educator. Smith is in charge of this year's cook-off Saturday at Mannel Park.
"It's a great event to come out to and have a good time," said Smith of the four-day Colours festival, which features music and wine, film and stage, as well as art and sculpture.
Chili entries will be judged by KUZZ disc jockey Geoff Emery and Shafter police Chief Greg Richardson. First prize in the traditional and nontraditional categories is $100. The winners in both the restaurant and People's Choice categories will receive a trophy.
Cost to enter your chili in the cook-off is $30 and the deadline for entry is Thursday. Those participating must set up their booth between 4 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Tasting begins at 4:30 and winners will be announced around 5:45.