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After a competitive selection process that included 17 cities in the Midwest, the International Chili Society (ICS) and DRA Properties, L.C., have reached an agreement to bring the ICS World Championship Chili Cook-off® to Iowa, making The District at Prairie Trail the new home of the event for the next five years.

The 2019 ICS World Championship Chili Cook-off will be held September 6-8.

“We’re excited to bring the most famous and well-known chili cook-off championship to Iowa and to The District at Prairie Trail,” said Scott Toland, President and CEO of ICS Chili, Inc. “This event has grown from a chili cook-off challenge among a small group of friends to the culminating event of a year-long series of sanctioned cook-offs in 39 states and attracting hundreds of thousands of chili fans along the way.”

The International Chili Society (ICS) theme – Family. Friends. Fun. – is a sentiment that Toland and the ICS was searching for as they sought a new host for 2019 and a more permanent location for the ICS World Championship Chili Cook-off®. Working with Catch Des Moines and Des Moines entrepreneur Brooks Reynolds, well known as co-founder of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, Toland identified the Des Moines area and The District as the ideal fit for the world championship event. Reynolds has been retained by the ICS as President of International Events & World Chili Cook-offs.

“We’re just thrilled that Scott and the ICS choose The District at Prairie Trail,” said Dennis Albaugh, Prairie Trail developer. “When we started developing Prairie Trail, we knew The District would be the entertainment center of it all. I love chili and I’m looking forward to the world championship, the fun and 10,000 fellow “Chiliheads” celebrating in the new Town Square in The District in September!”

Prep Iowa

“Catch Des Moines is thrilled to embark on this partnership with The International Chili Society, beginning with Greater Des Moines hosting the 2019 ICS World Championship Chili Cook-off in September,” said Catch Des Moines President & CEO Greg Edwards. “We view this festival as a signature annual event for the region. Whether you love chili, beer and bands or just love a good time, this is a family festival that will bring in visitors from across Iowa and the surrounding states.”

“The World Championship Chili Cook-off is expected to bring in over 300 championship chili entries and over 200 judges, scorekeepers and their families to Central Iowa for five days,” said Ashley Johnson, marketing director of DRA Properties, who estimates the economic impact to the region will approach $1.5 million.

The International Chili Society started with a “friendly” chili competition among a group of friends in Terlingua, Texas, in 1967. The ICS continues to uphold the same core values of its founders by bringing people together to enjoy healthy competition and America’s great culinary creation – chili! “Chiliheads” compete in over 125 sanctioned ICS cook-offs in 39 states throughout each cooking season for the hopes of qualifying for the ICS World Championship Chili Cook-off held each fall. Total prize money at the World Championship Chili Cook-off is expected to top $100,000.

The group’s mission is to continuously improve chili while raising money for charities and non-profits year-round. Close to $100 million has been raised and donated to date.

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