Inaugural Hospice Chili Cook-off to
offer a full day of spicy fun

May 21, 2014
Santa Paula News

What better way to spend a Saturday then at an event where you can get spicy tastes of everyone’s favorite food, enjoy live music by a top band, turn the kids loose at their own Fun Zone and enjoy arts and crafts as well as other food booths.

You’ll have it all at Saturday’s inaugural Santa Paula Chili Cook-off benefiting Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group; the cook-off is being held at Limoneira Soccer Fields-located near Hallock Drive off Telegraph Road-against a spectacular backdrop of mountain ranges and orchards, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (follow the signs to paid parking, only $5!)

Admission to the cook-off is only $5 per person, kids 12 and under free, for this day of chili tasting that can be enjoyed with a cold one in the Beer Garden; there will also be a Kids Zone, The House Arrest Band and more.

The Batventador, a matte black Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 just like Batman’s will also be on display. The car will be wrapped with a special tribute to Sophia Andrade, the Nemo-loving 4-year-old Santa Paula girl who succumbed to pediatric cancer earlier this year. The Batventador- owned by Debbie (Batgirl) Foreman-will be displayed to urge donations to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Child Life Specialist program. 

Hospice Board Directors Victor Espinoza and Olga Castro came up with the idea to try a chili cook-off to benefit the nonprofit organization.

“We always have a huge need for funds,” for Hospice’s always free wide array of services, said Espinosa.

“We don’t charge for anything and we have more clients... we don’t charge but it takes money to run the operation.”

The Rotary Club of the Conejo Valley stages a successful Chili Cook-off each year and Espinosa said Castro’s Santa Paula High School connection led to the International Chili Cook-off Society.

Hospice retained Leanne Thompson, who is experienced in staging chili cook-offs, and Espinosa said, “We’re hoping to make this an annual event... although it’s a lot of work!”

He’s looking forward to the event, which will feature DJ Jaime “Rico” Rangel of the popular radio duo Mambo & Rico as well as The House Arrest, “a great band with tons of followers,” that will take to the stage at 11 a.m.  

Espinosa noted the city and Limoneira have been very helpful as well as other supporters of the event, the first of its kind for Santa Paula.

“We’re shooting for hopefully 5,000 to attend... it’s our first year so we’re testing the waters, or maybe I should say testing the chili, to see how it goes!”

An admitted chili lover Espinosa is looking forward to the generous tastings, 10 for $5 or 50 cents each: “We’ll have a People’s Choice Award,” and cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100 for the top three chili makers.

Castro said her longtime SPHS friend Jim Rasey of Santa Paula is “On the chili cook-off circuit and said it’s a great fundraiser... I brought the idea to the Hospice board several times and finally they thought it would be a good idea.”

Castro said many of her friends “are great cooks” that she has been urging to enter the competition. 

“I went to a chili cook-off years ago in San Diego,” and enjoyed the experience so much that Castro said “I’m going to make a batch of chili myself to take Saturday!”

Don’t like chili (and who doesn’t)? There still will be plenty to do including shopping for handmade arts and crafts, including jewelry, Dia de los Muertos décor, herbal neck wraps, potpourri lamps, antique vintage pedestals, handmade ladies decorated shirts and so much more!

For more information on entering the cook-off or just to learn more about this fundraiser, call 805-525-1333.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.