Add a Little Flavor to Summertime

Posted: 07/02/15

Thousands are expected to gather at The Bartlett Events Center in Big Bear Village to sample a variety of home-style chili and salsas prepared by cooks from throughout the Southwest at the 46th Annual Big Bear Chili Cook-Off.

This is an International Chili Society sanctioned event with more than 100 chili cooks who compete for cash prizes and awards, including the opportunity to advance for a spot in the ICS World Championships. Big Bear Chili Cook-Off is Saturday, July 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free to the public. Chili tasting kits are available for $5.

There are two People’s Choice contests that give the public a chance to stir up the pot with their votes. The first People’s Choice contest is the “Best Local Restaurant" from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This contest gives Big Bear restaurants a chance to vie for bragging rights and a perpetual, wooden-bear trophy provided by Kirby's Custom Carvings. The second People’s Choice contest is “Public Votes for ICS Competition Chili” from 12 noon to 5 p.m. The top cook of the “Public Votes ICS Competition Chili” contest is awarded a $150 cash prize.

This good old-fashioned chili cook-off has an authentic western flare, too. Step back in time to see Judge Millener’s Wild West Showdown between outlaws and law dogs. The showdown features professional stunt people and gun-safety demonstrations, followed by re-enactments of robberies, kidnappings and old west standards like the Old Miners Jail. Adding to the flavor is a wide selection of live music including bluegrass, country, folk and classic rock. There are over 40 vendors plus fun-filled activities for families that include gold panning, face painting, potato-sack races and kiddie crafts. Traditional contests include Ms. Chili Pepper, Mr. Hot Stuff, Shoot n’ Holler and Wiskerino.

“Old Miners Days in Big Bear Valley is more than a celebration, it’s a down right HOOT!” said Old Miners Association President Richard Millener.

Another part of Big Bear Chili Cook-Off that has become a crowd favorite is the 5th Annual Outhouse Race. Local businesses and civil service groups spend months designing and building “People-Powered Potties” to compete in the Outhouse Race. The championship team is awarded the coveted “Golden Outhouse” trophy. Also, a “People’s Choice” award is presented to the best decorated outhouse and team costumes. The outhouse races are from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and free to spectators.

The 46th Annual Big Bear Chili Cook-Off is Saturday, July 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bartlett Events Center located at 630 Bartlett Road in Big Bear Village. Admission is free. Tasting kits can be purchased at the door for $5. To learn more about the Big Bear Chili Cook-Off, the Outhouse Race or any other Old Miners Days events visit or call 442-243-1880. To make lodging reservations or request a free Visitors Guide log on to or call 800-424-4232.

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About Old Miners Days: Big Bear Valley is the site of Southern California’s largest gold rush, and the folks of Big Bear Valley preserve their historic 19th century heritage with month-long traditions and events, called Old Miners Days. For 66 years the resort town has thrown this good old-fashioned hoedown, and organizers promise this year’s Old Miners Days to be bigger and better than ever. This year, Old Miners Days runs a span of five weekends with a total of nine event days starting May 30 and ending July 25, 2015. Old Miners Days activities entertain all ages and all interests.

July 02, 2015