Mexican National Chili Cookoff cancelled for 2021
Past President Jacque Bouchard and the Board plan a bigger, better event in 2022
Chili Cookoff in 2020.
Patrick O’Heffernan, Ajijic. There will be no Mexican National Chili Cookoff in 2021; if all goes well, one of Lakeside’s – and Mexico’s – largest charity events will return in 2022.
Jacque Bouchard, founder and past president of the event told Laguna that it is not logistically possible to hold the Cook Off this year.
“The government has not said yes we can or no we can’t – they just don’t know either. We need to make plans far ahead; we need to make reservations, recruit volunteers, sign up sponsors – there are a million problems with trying to do it this coming February. It just is not possible,” Bouchard said, adding that even if the government were to declare a green light for the event, they could not do it in the short amount of time left, and most likely could not do it later in the year.
“Of course, if there is a green light, Tobolandia will be open and we cannot produce the Cookoff during their season. But most important is that many of our key people are not here and they will not be coming back to the area this winter, so we would have to recruit new people and train them,” he said, adding that many of their volunteers are from the charities they support, but even these might be in short supply because the Canadians can’t drive to Mexico and Americans are afraid to come.
The upshot is that the event has been cancelled for 2021 and it is not likely that an alternative event can be assembled online.
Bouchard, who stepped aside so that Doug Friend could take over as President this year but remains an advisor, told Laguna that, “there are no plans at the moment for online events, but we know the charities we support are feeling the pinch, especially groups like Niños Incapacitados and Cruz Roja. They are trying to come up with new ideas, but some attempts at online fundraising events have not worked.”
The Chili Cookoff Board is planning to get back in the business of supporting organizations like Cruz Roja and Ninños Incapacitados with a bigger, better event in February 2022. Bouchard points out that, providing Covid-19 is tamed, there should be some pent-up demand because the Cookoff is most popular with newbies and snowbirds, who will flock back to Lakeside.
“The newbies and snowbirds love the Cookoff – they love the pageantry and the opportunity to meet new people and hear music; they are not here now but they will be back in 2022 and be very enthusiastic,” he said, “and we know most of our sponsors and participants will be back – the Mexican people are very resilient and they will find a way to support us and get involved.”
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