Sunday, October 1, 2023

Chili cook-off prompts homecoming week with spirit, competition


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Photo and story by Jessica Knoble / Contributing Writer

It’s fall, and that means one thing: chili, the ultimate comfort food.

MTSU embraced the fall-time go-to during its annual chili cook-off, which challenged campus sororities and fraternities to compete in a chili-making contest and a tent-decorating competition. The main goal —  please the crowd.

“We’re members of greek organizations that are all members of the IFC, which is the Interfraternity Council of all of the greek organizations on campus,” said Clayton Sawyer, a junior music education major. “For homecoming, we are the ones who get together and organize a lot of events.”

Since this year’s homecoming theme revolves around the ’90s era, many of the tents were decked out in nostalgia, which included a “Toy Story” tent, a “The Magic School Bus” tent and a Super Mario Brothers tent.

Representatives from the organizations spread the word for the event.

“My girlfriend is in a sorority, and her sorority, Alpha Omega Pi, is participating in the chili cook-off,” said Brockwell Nason, a freshman music education major. “The coolest part is that it’s unlimited chili for only $5.”

Guests were offered unlimited chili, a homecoming t-shirt and cup and a ’90s-inspired button. The low admission cost seemed to entice many to attend. The night’s profits went to event costs. 

“We have to pay for production to come and put up the lights, (and) we have to pay to use the tables and all the bowls, napkins and spoons,” said senior political science major and 2017 Parade Director April Carroll. “That’s really what we use the money for is to fund the event, to get it going, to make sure we have all the necessary equipment to make it all happen.”

Of course, as with any other competition, there were judges who helped name a winner. The judges based their scores on a combination of the quality of the chili itself and the overall look of the tent.

“We have five or six judges that come in and judge, and they do taste-tests and look at decorating,” Carroll said. “It’s a point system.”

The judges awarded Alpha Omicron Pi with the blue ribbon for their “The Magic Raider Express” theme.

The homecoming chili cook-off was once again a success, sending guests home with full stomachs and an eagerness for the big game to come. 

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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