The annual Chilympiad celebration, a custom that began in 1970 at Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, attracts thousands of onlookers and hundreds of contestants. The contest is a chili cookoff held the second week of September. In 1974 the Chilympiad was moved to the Hays County Civic Center in San Marcos. Winners automatically qualify for the world championship chili cookoff in Terlingua. The rules for entry require that all chili be made from scratch at the site of the contest and bar women from entering. In response to the latter rule, a separate cookoff was established in Luckenbach called Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned. Its winners also qualify for the world championship contest. Some participants in the cookoff are serious, some come for the party, and not all aspects of the contest relate to the state championship. There are several smaller cookoffs for media representatives, college students, and local business people. There is an award for best showmanship, and many contestants use costumes, decorations, and themes to win. The Chilympiad also offers country and western dancing, arts and crafts, food booths, and a parade.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 30, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 1, 1994