16th Annual Tom Daniel Holiday Chili Cook-off to Honor Ned Perme on November 16 in Downtown Hot Springs

(HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas) October 3, 2018 –The Downtown Association of Hot Springs will honor Ned Perme as the first Honorary Chair of the 16TH annual Tom Daniel Holiday Chili Cook-off at the event on Monday, November 19. 

The Cook-off will take place in the Exchange Street Plaza beginning at 4:30 p.m. Admission is $5 and allows attendees to sample the entries featuring traditional and non-traditional chili and vote for their favorite entry and the “People’s Choice” winner. First and second place winners determined by a panel of judges in both categories win a trophy and a cash prize.

The popular annual event serves as the ceremonial kick-off to the holiday season in historic downtown Hot Springs including turning on the downtown holiday lights.  The lights will be turned on at dusk. The event was named in honor of the late Tom Daniel, a local business owner and community advocate.

“For the past fifteen years, meteorologist Ned Perme has served as the event emcee and helped to turn on the holiday lights in historic downtown,” notes event organizer Suzanne Tucker. “As a friend to both Tom Daniel and the Downtown Association of Hot Springs, we are excited to honor Ned’s longstanding support of the event by naming him as our first Honorary Chair,” said Tucker.

This year’s event will also mark the first official appearance of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson, who will be serving as a guest judge. “As a nationally-recognized writer with an eye for southern culture and a taste for Arkansas cuisine, Rex Nelson will have the difficult task of helping judge from the over thirty different entries in the chili competition,” said Downtown Association President Benny Baker.

Former KATV news anchor Gina Kurre will serve as the emcee at this year’s event. Proceeds from the Chili Cook-off go to fund the maintenance of the downtown lights and support the Downtown Association of Hot Springs. Tickets can be purchased online at www.HotSpringsDowntown.com or at the event.


Event Information

Join us Monday, November 19th in the Exchange Street Plaza for a flavorful evening with memories you’ll savor throughout the season. Your $5 ticket allows you to sample from over 30 competitors’ entries and vote for your favorite. Ticket and drink sales go toward funding the Christmas lights downtown.

Rules & Regulations for Competitors

All competitors are required to cook ten gallons of chili in lieu of an entry fee. Competitors may enter more than one chili but must have 10 gallons of each. Failure to meet this requirement will result in the entry not being judged.  All competitors are expected to be on site by 3 pm, and must attend the Competitors Meeting at 3:30 p.m.

Traditional Chili

Defined as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, except for BEANS or other fillers, which are strictly forbidden.

Non-Traditional Chili

Defined as any type of chili that does not qualify as traditional, such as white, green, or vegetarian chili. Any chili that contains beans will be in this category as well.


Cooking may take place on or off the premises. If cooking on-site, setups will be available starting at 9am. Judging will take place at 4pm. Each contestant will have approximately a 10×10 ft area. We encourage you to decorate as it draws people to your booth (and you could receive a trophy for your efforts)!

Spaces are limited, so get your entry form in soon!


1st Place Traditional (No Bean) Chili – Trophy and $200 Cash
2nd Place Traditional (No Bean) Chili – Trophy and $100 Cash

1st Place Non-Traditional Chili – Trophy and $200 Cash
2nd Place Non-Traditional Chili – Trophy and $100 Cash

*People’s Choice Award – Trophy
Best Decorated Booth Award – Trophy

*People’s Choice Award is determined by audience favorite. Each ticket purchase counts as one vote. Encourage your fans to purchase extra tickets so they can vote on their favorite chili multiple times.

Dust off your recipe and join us for the chili cook-off!

For more information contact:

Suzanne Tucker (Organizer) Tom Daniel Holiday Chili Cook-Off 501-624-3370

Benny Baker (President) Downtown Association of Hot Springs 501-215-7136