Cookoff questions answered ahead of Carnival of Love

Saturday event set to include prizes, food, games and more

Entries are still being accepted for the cooking competitions in the 10th annual Sharion Bailey Whitlock Carnival of Love, which is set for 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday in Mattocks Park.

Presented by Meet Me at the Court, The Bailey Family and the El Dorado chapter of the Sugar Town Riders Motorcycle Club, the SBWCOL will include free food and beverages, games, homemade chili and dessert cookoffs and other activities.

The event is free and open to public.

Veronica Bailey, president and CEO of MMC, said inquiries have been pouring in about the cooking competitions, which have been expanded this year to include a dessert category.

Bailey said the cookoffs have generated a lot of interest, including some from out of state.

She reiterated the rules of the competitions.

There is no entry fee for either cookoff.

Anyone who is interested in entering the cookoffs may simply bring their entries on the day of the carnival.

Food must be homemade, prepared off-site and delivered to the carnival warm and ready for judging.

Bailey said chili will be judged on taste, appearance and ingredients.

"The judges have told me that they look for something different, something that other chilis may not have," she said. "Last year, we had an honorable mention, one entry that had beans in her chili. No other chili had beans."

This year, Bailey said a caller has expressed interest in entering a deer chili recipe.

As is customary for the chili cookoff, chili that is entered into the competition will be served to the crowd after the winners have been announced.

The MMC Kitchen Committee will serve chili dogs, Frito pies and bowls of chili with crackers.

Desserts must be made from scratch and they will also be served to the public following the contest, Bailey said.

Trophies and cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners, respectively, in each category.

There will also be free beverages, cotton candy, popcorn balls, candy apples and homemade pound cake from C&C Chews and More.

A few new activities have been added to the Carnival of Love this year, Bailey said.

Two giant inflatables, face-painting, hula hoops, "pick up ducks", bat-and-ball and a three-point basketball shootout are all on tap for the day.

"We will have something for each age division, something for everyone to do, even the toddlers," said Bailey.

All children who attend the carnival will be able to take home a prize.

"We will have a free prize table. Each child can stop by the table and select a prize. We want every child to be able to leave with a prize," Bailey said.

"I've had some kids call because they couldn't believe there are going to be two bounce houses this time, so they had to call to see if that was right," she continued with a laugh.

Carnival attendees are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs.

Bailey said some of the available seating in the park will be occupied during the cooking competitions.

For more information, call Bailey at 870-310-0391.

Bailey temporarily provided a new contact number but she said the former number has been reactivated.

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