Rough and Ready Secession Days Chili Cook-off Celebration

Jason Gordon prepares Gordos Chili at last years Secession Days Chili Cook off celebration   6 13 18Rough and Ready, Ca.

Shortly after its founding in 1849, Rough and Ready was a thriving little town, big enough to nearly become the County Seat. Over the intervening decades the town went through cycles of growth and contraction, but the community never forgot its roots and its heritage as The Great Republic of Rough and Ready. 169 years after Captain A.A. Townsend started the settlement, the town celebrates its history and the 3 months in 1850 that the town briefly stood alone in secession from the United States, as the Great Republic. This year, once again, the town comes alive and welcomes citizens and visitors alike to enjoy the annual Secession Days Chili Cook-off celebration on Sunday, June 24.

This year the town celebrates with a special guest...the Great-Great Grandson of Rough and Ready’s founder, Capt. Townsend of Shullsburg, Wisconsin. Callen Harty, a recognized author and playwright, will offer a short presentation on his ancestor, Capt. Townsend.

The day kicks-off at 7am, when the Firefighters of Rough and Ready will cook a delicious breakfast of eggs cooked-to-order, ham, pancakes and beverage for only $8.00 for adults and $6 for children. Breakfast will be served inside the Fire Station until 10 am. Meanwhile, across the street, Kit and Janet Burton (AKA Plinky and Plunky) will be entertaining the crowd with their own special blend of music.

Around 10:00am, the Rough and Ready Rascals will make their appearance and offer their latest rendition of “The Ongoing Saga of Rough and Ready: The Play”, which pokes good-natured fun at the early history of the town. Always a crowd favorite, you won’t want to miss this fun-filled production. At the conclusion of the melodrama, having worked up a good appetite again, wander over to the Community Center booth for a hamburger or some home-baked goodies...or make your way back to the Fire Station, where the Firefighter’s Association will be offering pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, chips and cold drinks.

While all of this is going on, our Chili Chefs will have begun the preparation of their favored chili recipes. Stop by and visit with them. Perhaps they’ll share a secret or two! Also at 11:00, Tasting Kits will go on sale for $5 each. The tasting won’t begin until 1pm, but the judges who will determine the $500 first place winner and the 2nd Place $250 winner, as well as those who purchased tasting kits and a chance to vote for the $250 People’s Choice Award, will be ready for some chili!

But there’s more to the Secession Days Chili Cook-off than just food and entertainment. Stroll through and check out the many and varied wares of our crafters and vendors. Enjoy some Kettle Corn, cotton candy, nachos or other snacks and refreshments. Stop in at the Fippin Blacksmith Shop, where our blacksmith Michael Smallwood will have fired up the forge, and where you can purchase official Rough and Ready souvenirs and apparel.

The kids haven't been forgotten, either, thanks to our volunteer Firefighters. They’ve set up a free Bounce House, a color station and dummy drags to keep the kids happy and entertained. There will be a water spray area, as well, so bring the kids’ bathing suits or dry clothes just in case!

Things start wrapping up about 2:30, to end a fun day for the entire family. There is no admission and parking is free. Overflow parking is available at the Community Center (the former Grange Hall). All proceeds go to help local community non-profit organizations: The Rough and Ready Chamber of Commerce, The Rough and Ready Community Center, and the Rough and Ready Firefighter’s Association.

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