Today’s Tustin Chili Cook-off is the largest in the Western United States!
And I missed it…however, my daughter made it. We are all chili lovers. One year I had a booth and we made gallons and gallons of chili which was all gone by 11:00. I didn’t compete for two reasons: to be a true chili competitor you have to make the chili on site and the actual chili ingredients have to be chopped up very, very fine or you are disqualified. It makes sense – they are trying to judge on best chili “flavor” but didn’t work for me. I get rave reviews on my chili and had oodles of visitors come back for seconds with comments about how my chili was the best of the event. No doubt it was because I put large chucks of Claro’s (Tustin’s awesome Italian market on Bryan) spicy sausage in it and whole olives. But I am not one to take credit for a recipe that isn’t mine so if you want to make the greatest chili ever – it’s in The Silver Palate cookbook – but spice it up by using Italian sausage in place of bulk sausage.
Back to Tustin’s Chili cook-off. There are chili tastings for a dollar each, rides, food and all sorts of booths representing many of the Tustin community organizations. It’s a joy to see the local kids play in a band, dance and do gymnastics and fun to see friends and family out enjoying the sunshine. It’s only one day every year – usually the first Sunday in June. So don’t miss it (like I did.)
Another wonderful – and free – community event is Tustin’s Summer Concert Series. Bring your blankets, food and libations (or by some there) and gather with friends in Peppertree Park on 1st and B Street on Wednesday nights throughout the summer. The bands are really enjoyable (the Celtic bands are my personal faves) and it’s fun to see and spend time with friends and watch the little kids dance in front of the stage.
In the same spot TACFA puts on an outdoor musical every year in August and the local kids perform with professional artists. Tickets are reasonably priced and the money raised goes back to TACFA who gives scholarships to local artists.