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More than 20 businesses will be participating by creating their most impressive chilis.

The Madras Downtown Association will be hosting their first Chili Cookoff on Saturday, March 16.

More than 20 businesses will be participating by creating their most impressive chilis, which they will be offering up to local participants to sample and judge.

Community members will go business to business to sample and judge chili, beginning at Madras Mission Church, 178 SW Fifth St., where they can turn in a $5 donation and receive a map with the locations of all the different chilies, along with a score card.

The event starts at 2 p.m., and participants can join in any time before 5 p.m., which is when all the businesses will take their chili to the Madras Mission Church, where awards will be given and chili served with all the toppings.

Chili categories include mild, medium, spicy and extra spicy, and the chili will be judged on color, taste, consistency and aftertaste. All the chili locations are within walking distance and all proceeds from the donations will go to the Madras Downtown Association.

The official rules for business entering chili are as follows:

There must be enough chili to make 10 servings, and the chili must not "melt the tastebuds." No store-bought chili is allowed; chili must be labeled as mild, medium, spicy, or "waiver required with ambulance on standby."

Judges may be bribed, however their decision final decisions may not be swayed; all money will be donated to the Madras Downtown Association. All chili entries must be submitted in either a crockpot or heavy metal pot.

The contest is a blind tasting competition; those with chili entries may not tell judges any information about their chili. Once chili is submitted, the business that entered it will not have access to it until judging is complete.

The competition is meant to be friendly and all participants should be courteous and fair to other competitors. No chili will be served until judging is completed. All contestants and judges will return to Mission Church at 5 p.m., to tally score cards, eat chili and award prizes.

The deadline for businesses to enter the chili into the competition is March 6, at 5 p.m.

For further information, contact Angela Rhodes, of the Madras Downtown Association, at 541-771-4545.

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