(Originally published at OnePaper.com)
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands: The Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI – www.chili.org) was, as stated on its website, “Chartered to Raise Money for Charity through the Promotion of Chili”. Each year, the organization oversees preliminary cookoffs scattered far and wide, from Canada to the United States Virgin Islands. Which brings us to the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Annual Texas Society Chili Cookoff, hosted of late at Sapphire Beach Resort and Marina’s picturesque shore. According to Georgeanne “Pepper” Peters, top “Chilihead”, the beneficiaries of past outings have been: the local chapter of the American Red Cross, the Queen Louise Home for the Aged, St. Thomas Rescue, St. Thomas Swimming Association, the Virgin Islands Institute of Performing Arts, Family Support Network, Dial-A-Ride and Kidscope (a child advocacy agency).
The Texas Society of the Virgin Islands Chili Cookoffs began in 1985, folding into CASI as a Pod in 1994 for the first time. Rules and requirements came under the aegis of CASI’s Rules and Guidelines, but that certainly did not dampen the fun. The added perk of becoming king (or queen!) of all Chiliheads now means a trip to the International Cookoffs in Terlingua, Texas. The Governor even declares “Chili Appreciation Society International Day” in Texas as participants and attendees begin to arrive the Wednesday before the first Saturday in November. Live entertainment and social gatherings lead up to the Terlingua International Chili Championship (TICC). Before you saddle up, pardner, don’t forget – the road to the TICC begins at an officially sanctioned Chili Cookoff! Entry forms are available by contacting Georgeanne “Pepper” Peters at (340) 775-8011.