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Oct. 10, 2017
 

Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off brings Old West food and lifestyle to Tumbleweed Ranch for two day festival, Nov. 10-11
 
Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-offThe eighth annual Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off will feature authentic chuck wagon teams demonstrating a bit of the 1880s Old West lifestyle and cooking up some tasty grub. The culinary competition takes place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10-11, 2017, at Chandler’s Tumbleweed Ranch, an event space showcasing historic structures and farm equipment located within Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road.
 
During the two day event, the chuck wagon teams prepare their foods using cooking methods and utensils in the style of those used in 1880s cattle drives. The meals they prepare will be available for purchase on Saturday. The event also will feature live musical entertainment, history and cooking demonstrations, wagon rides, a campfire glow with s’mores, a farmers market with local vendors and much more. Parking, admission and most activities at this family friendly festival are free, with food and beverages available for purchase. The festivities are presented by the Chandler Museum, in partnership with Pardners of Tumbleweed Ranch.
 
“Cook-off visitors are taken back in time for a rare, up-close look at the Old West with chuck wagon competitors wearing period dress, and using equipment and cooking methods as if they were on an 1880s cattle drive,” says Chandler Museum Administrator Jody Crago. “This is a culinary experience unlike any other that will attract foodies and history buffs alike.”
 
There are a number of new offerings at this year’s event, including an entertainment partnership with Valley Fever, a producer of country music shows in the Phoenix area. On Friday, visitors can enjoy the music of Barefoot and Pregnant all day, with Chip Hanna performing at the campfire glow in the evening. On Saturday, Pick and Holler will perform bluegrass music, followed by the “outlaw country” sounds of August Manley’s Premiere Waylon Jennings Tribute Band.
 
“We have some of the best local country and western performers entertaining at this year’s Chuck Wagon Cook-Off,” says Crago. ““We are delighted to have Valley Fever as our music partner for the event.”

On Friday, Nov. 10, event hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with participating wagons cooking up small plates for purchase from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local youth will compete in the Junior Cook-off at 10:30 a.m., and throughout the day the public can engage with an interactive exhibit from members of the Arizona Historical Society or take a tour of the 100-year-old McCroskey House. New this year is the addition of a Farmer’s Corner market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday featuring artisan vendors, crafts, and food trucks. From 6-8 p.m., families can take part in a campfire glow, make s’mores and listen to classic western music and cowboy trail songs.
 
Saturday, Nov. 11 event hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The main event is the Dutch oven cooking competition where each chuck wagon team will cook five courses over a wood fire: meat, potatoes, beans, bread and dessert. A limited number of tickets for the 12:30 p.m. meal will be available for purchase (each wagon cooks 50 meals). Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m., the meal tickets cost $15 and always sell out very quickly. Tickets are first come, first serve, and there are no pre-sales for these competition meals.
 
The most significant change this year is the ability to purchase advanced meal tickets for Saturday. These catered meals are perfect for those who don’t want to wait in line or who don’t need a cook-off competition ticket to have the full chuck wagon experience. Tickets can be purchased online for $20, which includes a five-course catered chuck wagon-style meal, water and access to a tent seating area.
 
Other activities on Saturday include the main stage entertainment, history and cooking demonstrations, the artisan and vendor marketplace, food trucks and the awards presentation.
 
More information and the 2017 Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off event schedule can be found online at chandleraz.gov/chuckwagon or by calling 480-782-2717.