Aug. 24 is deadline to enter Hopkins Co. stew cookoff   

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Aug 15, 2007 - It’s not too late to get in on the two Fall Fest events hosted by Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce – the stew contest and duck race.

Registration for the 37th annual “World Champion Hopkins County Stew Contest” is well under way, but teams still have time to sign up their cooking team for the Sept. 15 contest, which begins at dawn on Saturday, Sept. 15. Teams generally set up their camp sites the day before and some even camp out overnight, offering tasty treats while visiting with friends and Fall Festival patrons.

Cooks who competed in the stew contest last year have until 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, to reserve their site. The following Monday, Aug. 27, all other cooks will pick campsites on a first-come, first-served basis. 

To compete, at least one of the two cooks must be a Hopkins County resident. Teams can consist of up to two cooks and two helpers. Teams are responsible for getting a sponsor to cover the $125 entry fee, or two sponsors to split the cost. Contestants will receive $90 of the fee on Friday, Sept. 7, to offset the cost of ingredients; all meat must be USDA approved. The rest of the fee will be used for expenses such as prizes, advertising and other costs associated with hosting the contest.

The stew must be cooked in a large cast iron pot over a hardwood, not pine or soft wood, fire using wood furnished by the contestant. Each contestant must cook a minimum of 10 gallons of stew. Two quarts will be turned in at 10:45 a.m. Sept. 15. 

The stew will be served to the public for $5 a ticket beginning at 11 a.m. Quarts may also be purchased for $7 each after the winners are announced.

Plaques will be awarded to the top three chicken and beef stew winners, as will and cash prizes of $300, $150 and $50. The winner of the super stew contest, which consists of entries from past winners, will receive $500 and a plaque. The best campsite/costume will receive $200 and a plaque, while the super campsite/costume winner gets $250 and a plaque. Super campsite/costume category also includes past winners.

Call or go by the Chamber at 1200 Houston St. for more information on rules, requirements and registration forms.

Immediately following the stew contest, the second Chamber sponsored event begins. The 4th annual AFLAC Duck Race will take place on the “aquaduck” which runs through the stew grounds. Ducks will be available for “adoption” for $5 each. The winning duck owner will receive a check for $500, second place duck owner will receive $250, third place duck will earn $100 and the last place or “lame” duck will win $50.

Contact the Chamber at 903-885-6515 for information.

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