Free Weekend Events Worthy Of Some SPF

Hope you've got your sunscreen and a good appetite because you're going to need both if you want to enjoy the best events this weekend. There are plenty of outdoor happenings you won't want to miss, but you may need more than sunscreen for one of them. Bring a strong stomach or pack the Pepto for the 36th Annual Prairie Dog Chili Cook-off and World Championship of Pickled Quail Egg Eating Competition at Traders Village (2502 Mayfield Road, Grand Prairie), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. As Patrick Michels reported last week, the mother of all eating competitions is back, and Lester Tucker, king of the pickled quail egg challenge for 15 years, may not be back to defend his title. Fans of pickled, jalapeño-laced eggs won't want to miss this competition because leftover eggs go to the crowd. Now that's a refreshing treat on a hot summer's day. In case you're still hungry, dozens of cooks will be manning their Crock Pots and vying for a $5,000 cash prize in the chili cook-off. Admission to the cook-off and eating competition is free, and parking is $3.

Even if you already know how to operate a fire extinguisher or constantly replace the batteries in your smoke detectors, this is one fire safety course you don't want to miss, and that's not just because hot firefighters will be in attendance. Head to the Shops at Park Lane (8070 Park Lane) on Sunday for the Chefs on Fire Competition and Block Party. There will be fire safety demonstrations, live music and activities for the kids, but the best part is the cooking challenge. Fifty teams, each comprised of one firefighter and one chef, will be competing in the all-day throwdown. Marcos Rodriguez of Bolla, Sean Alvarez of Ferre and Tony Gardizi of Decanter are among the chefs participating in the event. The winning team will receive $1,000, and portions of the proceeds from the event will go to the Parkland Regional Burn Center. Restaurants and food vendors including Zen Bakery, Gordon Biersch, Snappy Salads and Conway Corndogs will provide bites for the crowd. Admission is free. Sounds a lot more exciting than those elementary school fire safety courses.

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