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Chili Cook-Off To Spice Up Cliff Fest Sunday

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Does this sound familiar? There's going to be a street festival this weekend in the Bishop Arts District featuring a cooking contest and blues covers played by middle-aged white guys! This one's called Cliff Fest, though, and unlike Blues, Bandits & BBQ, it features a more widely varied music lineup that includes the greatness of Man Factory (who wrote easily the two best concept albums about Street Fighter II that we've ever heard), Mi Diva Loca, TeCo Theater's African Drumming Circle and, of course, The Cliff Blues Band.

But the highlight will be the chili contest -- without the ethical meat requirement that created such a challenge for barbecuers last time. So far 21 teams have signed up, with two kitchen professionals (Matt Spillers of Eno's Pizza Tavern and Dan Landsberg of Tillman's Roadhouse) taking on colorfully named amateur teams like Meatasaurus, One Man One Pot One Chili and the Chili Maker's, who include Maker's Mark whiskey in their bowl of red. Go Oak Cliff's Rob Shearer says the competition will continue accepting team registrations through tonight or possibly mid-morning tomorrow. Entry is free, though teams must provide or rent a pop-up tent and 6-foot table.

Unlike the barbecue and mussels contests of past Oak Cliff events, which included judges of varying degrees of food expertise and/or celebrity, entrants will be judged solely by "People's Choice" votes. For just $5, festgoers can purchase a special spoon entitling them to sample all entries and cast a single vote for their favorite in the contest. (Though "contest" might be a misnomer, now that Hophead Jesse Hughey and Dude Food's Noah W. Bailey have combined forces to create Team Chili Con Carnage.)

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