Chili cook off draws a big crowd in Idaho City

Posted at 5:57 PM, Feb 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 18:06:10-05

It was a gorgeous day to go on a drive through the mountains, and members of the chamber of commerce in Idaho City gave people the perfect excuse to get away.

For the past three decades, the second Saturday in February means one thing in Idaho City.

One of the chef's said: "It's all about the chili."

People travel from all over the region to be a part of the day's festivities that included live music.

This year, nine chills were entered into the contest. But in the end, it was a spicy chili with several types of pepper, a variety of beans and a secret ingredient that overwhelmed the judges' taste buds.

Those manning the Shanty Shack chili booth from Boise said it wasn't an easy task to take the top spot but that it was well worth the effort.

"The previous three years we've lost, not even placed," said Travis "Pooba" Peterson with the winning mountain men team. "So, finally we were able to overcome and win."

Being a part of the 2016 Chili Cook Off meant more to the mountain men team members this year considering the lost boardwalk due to a fire that displaced several businesses.

"It's about giving back to the community of Idaho City," Peterson said. "As you can see behind us, that building is no longer there. They suffered a major fire, and we thought there's no better way to give back."

The hope is that the board walk will be rebuilt this summer. But as one of the organizers of the accompanying flea market in town this weekend said, there is plenty to do and see in Idaho City with the nearby hot springs and historic cemetery.

"A lot of times when the valley gets smog in there, people want to come up because we have sunshine," said Cheryl Teeter, vice president of the Idaho City Community Club. "And, we love having people come and just walk our town."

The flea market is hosted by the Idaho City Community Club. All proceeds from their calendar sales will support scholarships for students of all ages. For more information on how you can get an application, dial (208) 392-4795.

The flea market continues on Sunday, Feb. 14 at the community hall. The hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it's free to get in.