Tustin Tradition: Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off

A happy 33rd anniversary to a spicy showdown.


MUCH FRIENDLY ADO IS MADE... over the whole beans-or-no-beans argument, at least in places where chili fans gather to talk about their must-have, must-eat, must-obsess-over favorite food. Like deciding if a rack of ribs need a dry rub or a sauce, and a batch of chocolate chip cookies requires a handful of nuts (or none at all), determining if a spicy, stewy, rich-broth'd concoction might be improved by a few dozen kidney beans is a topic that can draw some, you guessed it, heat. But maybe you are even more of an intense chili fan, in your own heart, and the beans-or-no-beans quibble takes some different twists, like "how many beans per spoonful?" and "should there be a mixture of several types of beans?" This is passion, this is piquancy, and this is what many a chili aficionado ponders both at home, while cooking, and when visiting various chili-themed showdowns. A long-running competition, the...

TUSTIN STREET FAIR & CHILI COOK-OFF, has been inspiring buffs to think about beans, meats, flavors, consistency, and all of that fun 'n flavorful stuff for well over three decades now. The next one'll be up faster than you can dip a ladle into a pot of Fiery Magic, on Sunday, June 4, and the stroll-about, booth-big, craft-plentiful fair is one of the charms. Of course, so is what is billed as "...the world's largest one-day Chili Cook-Off," so there's that, too. Want to cheer for the chefs? Find some chili-themed merch? Just enjoy the first Sunday of June in a breezy, outdoor, chili-fragrant setting? Here's your info on one of Southern California's most venerable pot-boilers. Really, though: How many beans should be in each spoonful? We'll vote for as many as can fit.

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