Chili to tempt tastebuds on Sept. 22

A new chili champion will be crowned in 2012.

That’s because 2010 and 2011 champion Rum River Health Services will be absent from Princeton’s seventh annual Chili Fest on Saturday, Sept. 22.

And while RRHS’ white chicken chili is sure to be missed, there are 13 other chili recipes lined up to take over the title as Chili Fest champion, according to Mary Chapman, executive director of the event sponsor, Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce.

A new chili champion won’t be the only new thing at this year’s festival.

The festival is moving up the block to a new location — Riverside Plaza, also known as north mall on Rum River Drive between First Street and Second Street North.

That’s because the mall lot offers more space for the festival and allows for the block of Rum River Drive to be closed off for the second annual car show, Chapman said.

Also new to the festival will be the MAXX Trampoline Park. Attendants at the Rum River Festival street party might remember the trampoline feature.

Chili festival goers will be able to be stapped into a harness and sail through the air like a gymnast, Chapman said.

“They were real popular at the Rum River Festival so we brought them back,” Chapman said.

Also coming back to Princeton is Rich Wieber’s bicycle stunt show.

Wieber’s crew of acrobatic bicyclists thrilled the crowd at the 2011 chili festival with one of the highlights being a long-distance bicycle jump over a group of area children laying across the mall parking lot.

“People just loved them,” Chapman said.

The three bicycle stunt performances will each be a half-hour and will start at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Entry fee to do the sampling is $5, or $3 with a a nonperishable food donation for the Princeton Pantry. The public gets to do the judging.

The Chili Fest will run noon-4 p.m. in the North Mall parking lot. A salsa contest accompanies the chili competition.

In addition to chili and salsa contests, trampoline and BMX daredevils, the craft fair and the classic car show, there will be decorated booths, a sidewalk art contest and a scarecrow decorating contest, Chapman said.

And when the chili’s all gone, festival attendees can continue the day over in Riverside Park where there will be a “Rhythm on the Rum” concert.

The concert will be in the future location of the ampitheater.

Be sure to bring a lawn chair and enjoy music from “Festival of Nations.” The six-person group will play music from around the world on mandolins, percussion, clairinet, the accordion, bass and more. This free concert will be held from 4-7 p.m.

Contact the chamber office at 763-389-1764 for more details.