The Archbold Chili Cook- Off, originally scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 9, has been cancelled.
Marsha Dowdy, executive director of the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce, said the group said a minimum of 10 chili booths were needed to make the event happen.
The decision was forced by a noon, Friday, Sept. 24 deadline, when the chamber had to either commit to, or cancel, the rental of $2,000 worth of tents for the event.
When only six groups or organizations had signed up to offer chili, Dowdy had to cancel.
Instead, Dowdy said chamber will take the resources originally dedicated to the cook-off and team with the Archbold Parks & Recreation Department to improve the Parks & Rec. Halloween hayride.
“We want to help enhance what they have planned,” Dowdy said.
Jennifer Kidder, director of Parks & Rec., said the hayride will be ready to go for Sunday, Oct. 31, Halloween night.
“We had been calling it the Haunted Hayride, but we’re getting away from that, because it’s a family event,” Kidder said.
Kidder said she and Dowdy talked about moving some of the childrens events planned for the cook-off into the Halloween night program.
“We haven’t worked out the particulars,” Kidder said.
The hayride will feature rides in a wagon through the small woods in Woodland Park, past Halloweenthemed scenes.
Kidder said Parks & Rec. workers have been preparing the woods for the Hayride. More mulch has been added to the trails to get them ready, she said.
Dowdy said she is disappointed that the Chili Cook- Off won’t take place.
“We would have liked to have had the Chili Cook-Off. It had great attendance.
“But it’s expensive to make the make the chili. Businesses are hurting, so it’s not high on the priority list,” she said.
Dowdy said she had advertised the event for weeks, and sent out a couple of email reminder prior to the deadline.
The committee behind the cook-off was “kind of at a loss. The community loved the event.”
She noted people are pulled many different directions between church activities, activities for children, and work.
“It’s hard to find volunteers to spend a whole day” working at an event like the cook-off.
It’s also the Archbold High School Homecoming weekend, with many out-of-town family members returning to the community.
“Historically, the Homecoming weekend was chosen to offer people a chance to come home to a great event,” she said.
Dowdy also noted Archbold’s newly-sanctioned boys soccer team plays Pettisville that day. Both junior varsity and varsity teams will play.
“Businesses have to choose, have to prioritize, without me begging and pleading. I don’t want businesses to feel obligated to show up for any event.”