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SML Chamber Announces Date for Fall Chili Festival

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the Chili Champion of Smith Mountain Lake, it’s time to get your application in for the 2022 SML Chili Festival.


Now in its 19th year, the fun-filled tradition will take place Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bridgewater Plaza. Tickets are $7 per person (cash only) with kids 5 and younger admitted free. The event is presented by Margaret Crayé of Lifestyle & Lake Real Estate Group.


Applications will be accepted starting Aug. 15 for chili-cooking teams, as well as craft vendors and food vendors, said Erin Stanley, Member Relations and Events Director for the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the family-friendly event. 


“This has become one of the most popular events at Smith Mountain Lake each year because it’s so much fun,” Stanley said. “Families can spend a beautiful fall day sampling chili, perusing vendor booths and interacting with the cooking teams, many of which go all out with themes and costumes. And it all comes with a lake view!” 


A committee will judge on the stage at Mango’s Bar & Grill for the “Best Chili” prizes based on taste, consistency, aroma, color and bite. The public will vote via ballot box for the “Peoples’ Choice” and for “Best Showmanship” awards. 


For those interested in entering a team, the cost is $25 and a minimum of 10 gallons of chili must be prepared. All chili must be cooked on site, from scratch. Cooking begins at 8 a.m. with samples shared with those in attendance from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Application deadline is Oct. 21.


Applications also are available online for craft vendors and food vendors. Stanley said space is limited and will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis.


For complete rules and to access applications, log on to or contact Erin Stanley at 540-721-1203 or 


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