The Board Chronicles: Fun In The Sun Chili Cook Off   2 comments

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

Fun In The Sun Chili Cook OffThis event is an annual fundraiser sponsored by the LA Sheriff’s Department to benefit the Special Olympics. Various departments (teams? groups? commands? no clue.) make their best chili and compete against each other for awards in categories such as “best spirit,” “people’s choice,” and “best team.”

The public buys tickets for $10 each, and get a taste of 30+ chilis made by the various departments for their consideration.

This event is local, supports a good cause, and is a place that cooks congregate … and cooks use cutting boards. We’re in.

We did this event last year, in the heat, and had frustrating sales of $380 in our single booth. This year, we’re in a double booth, and …

New Ideas

  • Much better location this year: we’re on flat ground. Last year, we had to scavenge landscaping rocks to level out our tables.
  • The weather was good this year: the high was 84*, I believe. The threats of rain didn’t happen (welcome to Southern California). The crowd was definitely bigger this year. More classic cars showed up. It was a bigger event, from every perspective.
  • Lots of new products available this year, from goat milk lotion to beard oil, from lazy Susans to pig cutting boards.


  • Local, Local, Local. Can we do more local events, please?
  • We had a family dinner Friday night, and loaded the lotion products into the younger Mrs M’s truck (she doesn’t let Christopher drive it anymore, I think) so she could drive straight from her house to the event Saturday morning. I drove my typical Jeep load, and had the canopies up before my partner arrived. Perfect timing.
  • The elder Mrs M had to work at her “job” today, so the younger Mrs M joined me in the booth. The elder Mrs M reminded me that the younger Mrs M should not be lifting things in her delicate condition. Apparently I need a reminder to take care of the younger Mrs M, who’s breathing for two now.
  • The elder Mrs M needs a vacation.
  • Large events don’t always equal large sales, nor do small events always equal small sales. This was a very good event for us … though I wish we could figure out how to do one day event set-ups with less sweat. We travel heavy to events, whether they are one day or two days long. It’s a choice.
  • A frustrating choice, at times, but a choice.
  • The event location is the Jack Bones Equestrian Center, off Parker Road in Castaic. It’s adjacent to a jail, and the Sheriffs have inmates form crews to clean up after the crowd is gone. Most events don’t have clean up crews that are all dressed alike.
  • We loaded everything into the truck for Sunday’s event, so I had to employ new packing strategies. It worked OK, except I forgot to pack the chairs left leaning against the fence. I remembered not packing them when I was almost home, so I had to turn around and go fetch them.
  • I love local events.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Jack in the Box drive through.

Saturday Lunch: Chili, of course.

Saturday Snack: A fabulous Blue Raspberry Italian Ice. Do I lose cutting board credibility with blue lips?

Saturday Dinner: We went to our favorite Thai Vietnamese restaurant. I had my standard, S5, hold the squid. I have a delicate palate, you see.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 129
  • Booth cost: $50
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Total sales: $915
  • # containers of product taken: 22
  • # boards available: 85
  • Saturday alarm: 5:30a
  • # transactions: 14
  • # soap & lotion vendors: just us
  • # woodworking vendors: just us
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 14:0

Boards sold: 14

Cheese Boards: 4

Lazy Susans: 3

Cutting Boards: 2

Pig: 1

Small Board: 1

Small Sous Chef Board: 1

Large Surfboard: 1

Pizza Server: 1



2 responses to “The Board Chronicles: Fun In The Sun Chili Cook Off

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  1. The event was a lot of fun. I liked that they moved us further away from the bands. Looking forward to next year at the Chili Cookoff!

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