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What's hot at Sacramento Beer & Chili Festival

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Wow it's HOT! Of course it's hot because its about some of the most loved things in Sacramento: Chili, Beer and Art for Children. And it better be hot because chili lover's are typically looking for some heat and the festival will indeed be bringing on the heat and the flavor along with the hops.

The festival will not feature visual art during the event but proceeds are donated to help raise funds for Sacramento art and music programs. This is a great cause, particularly in light of the many cutbacks that schools and other resources have faced in recent years. Programs for art and music have usually suffered first when the financial decisions are made when the budgets are tight. Organizations like The Sacramento Artists Council support the continued education and encouragement of children as well as local striving artists to develop their creative talents. It is well known that a creative mind is usually a more productive mind and art and music inspires millions to be creative thinkers.

The Sacramento Beer & Chili Festival will take place on April 19, 2014 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Fremont Park, located at 1515 Q Street, will be reserved for the hundreds of visitors who love beer and chili and some who just love supporting the arts. This is the third year for the festival and it has grown remarkably in just a short time. The number of chili competitors as well as beer vendors has increased to make this one of Sacramento's premier events.

People having a good time
People having a good time The Grid Agency

People having a good time

The second year the festival took place there were approximately 750 attendees. The anticipated attendance this year is 1000. A good crowd of happy people always make this kind of event not only better for the nonprofit cause but also more fun. During the last two years the festival was populated by good-natured and respectful people that clearly enjoyed everything the festival had to offer.

Because the festival runs from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., there is ample opportunity to take one's time enjoying the variety of beer and chili. It also allows the human traffic to flow more readily rather than creating a sense of rush before its all gone. However, its still  a good idea not to delay arrival to insure you get as many chili samples as you can from the participating contestants. Some of them will have smaller supplies than others and good food is vigorously appreciated by eager fans.

Festival attendees come from all over midtown and downtown but they also come from the outskirts of Sacramento. Some even travel down from Auburn or other neighboring towns; and, as the word grows, the number and variety of people is increasing. This is a good thing but there are limited numbers of tickets available so pre-purchasing is suggested or early arrival.

Good cooks competing
Good cooks competing Kati Garner

Good cooks competing

The chili cook-off will have four competitive categories: Individual, Industry, Vegetarian and People’s Choice. The caliber of industry competitors is impressive and include River City Brewing, 58 Degrees & Holding Co, Fat City, Starlite Lounge, Broderick Roadhouse, Bacon & Butter, Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Company, Sysco, Pour House, Morgans Bar & Grill, The Golden Bear, Blackbird Kitchen + Beer Gallery, Hoppy Brewing and Tank House BBQ & Bar.

Wow! If this doesn't make a chili lover start to drool, nothing will. While the tasting bowls are miniature, the tastes are endless so there will be no lack of tasty chili to sample. In fact, that little bowl makes it easy to carry the mini mug full of beer that ideally compliments all that chili.

While all the competitors hope to be recognized as a winner, the fact that they come out and participate makes them all winners. It's quite a bit of work to prepare a minimum of five gallons of chili, haul in the cooking gear, tables, ingredients and more. Even with all this work, the chili masters are notorious for their smiles and good cheer. Chili is fun. Spicy chili is even funner. Sharing chili with a crowd is outrageously fun.

The judging will be based on flavor, aesthetic and aroma with four official winners. The public will have an opportunity to vote for People's Choice. Get your bowl ready and taste them all if you can.

Live music
Live music Kati Garner

Live music

The festival also includes LIVE music. As if unlimited beer and chili tasting isn't enough, live music will enhance the event tremendously and will be brought to attendees by local musicians As Yet Untitled, URD-OM, and The Twilight Drifters.

As Yet Untitled is a varietal rock band with the following philosophy and approach to music. "We are an audible explanation of no definition. We've always created music that we wanted to hear or were in the mood to create at the time. No Boundaries."

URD-OM is a Rock/Pop/Punk and Covers youth band. Their ages are 11, 12 and 13 which doesn't prevent them from creating original material. Thumbs up for the young musicians who understand the necessity of commitment and hard work.

The Twilight Drifters are described as an "American roots music sensation." They follow in the traditions of such artists as Bob Wills, Gene Vincent to Big Joe Turner and Joe Clay, bringing new life and energy to a classic American sound. They enjoy performing danceable tunes spanning such genres as classic country, honky tonk, western swing, rockabilly and west coast blues. They "offer a compelling musical retrospect that entertains, moves, and captivates audiences."


Getting to know the neighbors
Getting to know the neighbors Kati Garner

Getting to know the neighbors

Founder & Executive Director of Sacramento Artists Council Susan Rabinovitz says, “This event is a great way to introduce new regional brewers and promote local restaurateurs while contributing to a nonprofit organization and its quest to raise funds.”

And indeed this event is a great opportunity to discover more about beer and breweries as well as restaurants that attendees may want to put on their must-do in the future. There is more than chili on the menus of the participating celebrated restaurants. In fact, some have been widely recognized and have star reviews. Dad's Kitchen (one of the event hosts) has even been featured on Guy Fieri's Diner’s, Drive In’s and Dives.

Some of this year's participants have previously been active in other cook-offs and benefits like the Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation Rib-Cook. They clearly love to cook, compete and support good causes!

Hosts with pizzaz
Hosts with pizzaz Sacramento Artists Council, Dad's Kitchen, The Grid Agency

Hosts with pizzaz

The Sacramento Beer and Chili Festival is hosted by The Sacramento Artists Council, Dad's Kitchen and The Grid Agency. Due to their dedication to this event, proceeds from the annual festival have been able to fund art programs throughout the Sacramento Region. 

In the first year, they were able put 5% of the proceeds towards a string orchestra for a local elementary school, fund the cash prize for a student art contest as well as give to Staging A Miracle (who creates art and music programs for homeless children). 

As the festival has quickly grown it has also gained new sponsors like American Skin Care Laser, Trinity Fresh, Sysco, Midtown Business Association and others. This enables more of the proceeds to go towards the art programs. The anticipated donated proceeds for 2014 are approximately 65% which is a huge increase from its starting point only two years ago. The hosts hope to continue to increase this to match some of their other benefit events like the Speakeasy.

Unlimited beer tasting
Unlimited beer tasting The Grid Agency

Unlimited beer tasting

Unlimited beer tasting will be provided by over 30 local and regional brewers. That's a plentiful gathering that will allow tasters to discover their favorites and to try many brands and flavors they've never had before.

Confirmed brewers include Drake’s Brewing, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, 21st Amendment, Lost Coast,  North Coast, Grand Teton, Two Rivers Ciders, Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, Ninkasi Brewing, Tap It Brewing, River City Brewing Company, Bike Dog Brewing, Tipsy Cow Creamery (Beer Ice Cream), Rubicon, Lagunitas, Hoppy Brewing Company, Sutter Buttes Brewery, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Sierra Nevada, New Helvetia Brewing Co., Eel River, Six Rivers, Mad Rivers and New Glory Craft Brewery.

Wow!!! What more can be said? If you love beer its obvious this is the place to be on April 19th.

Spices and flavor
Spices and flavor The Grid Agency

Spices and flavor

Yum! That's the idea. Chili is full of spice and flavor, with savory meat or vegetarian. How each chef flavors the internationally loved dish will be fun to discover. You can taste, savor, query into the secret reciprd and find your favorite chili as well as your favorite chef. The idea of the festival is to get beer, get chili, get yourself smiling and sharing with friends.

Variety of tickets include designated driver
Variety of tickets include designated driver The Grid Agency

Variety of tickets include designated driver

Event tickets vary in cost. Designated Driver tickets are $20 presale and include two non-alcoholic beverages and unlimited chili tastes. Unlimited chili and beer tasting tickets are $35 presale.

VIP Tickets are also available for $65.00 and include unlimited chili and beer tasting, a t-shirt, swag bag, early admission to the event and various coupons including a discount to Little Relics. Only 100 VIP tickets are available.

Tickets increase by $5 on day of event Tickets can be pre-purchased at the official website here.

Guests of this event are encouraged to post pictures using #SacBeerChili on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Attendees are welcomed to share the fun and tease non-attendees with images of what the Sacramento Beer & Chili Festival is all about. The next year is likely to sell out so noting it on your 2015 calendar is wise.