Riverside stirs up excitement at the 13th ‘Annual Chili Cook Off and Car & Cycle Show’

Posted: May 27, 2015 | Written by Tyler Reese

Cars, chili and shaved ice, topped altogether making one big delight. That describes the 13th Annual Chili Cook Off with its Car & Cycle show, which took place May 23 during Memorial Day weekend. The events started at 9 a.m. with vendors, cars and live entertainment filling the streets.

Riverside City College’s Culinary Academy attended the event and dispersed their own concoction of chili. During that time attendants were swarming around the main stage near Van Buren Boulevard to hear who had won the chili cook off contest. “It’s a great experience every year,” said Jazmine Flores an RCC student.

The cluster of stores and restaurants that line Magnolia Avenue, from Van Buren Boulevard to Jackson Street are apart of the Arlington Business Partnership and they have kept children in mind every year for the cook off. There was rock climbing, face painting and a petting zoo with a diverse amount of animals for children to feed, ride or pet.

New to the cook off this year was the game vendor Water Wars. This game consists of two teams of two people on each side: while one player yanks back on a slingshot, the other player then loads it with balloons and proceeds to release a veil of water balloons at the opposing team. The goal of the game is to see who can soak the opposing team and have a fun while doing so.

Not only were there games and vendors for children, but there were also beer gardens open as well for adult entertainment. The first beer garden was by Olivia’s Mexican restaurant and a second beer garden was across the street from the Bank of America on Donald Avenue.

Adding to the fun was a half-mile of food and merchandise vendors with small crowds surrounding them until the end of the day. The Sweet Stop, owned by Riverside natives Al and Liz Larson, was also at the event and had a snake-like line.

The Sweet Stop has made appearances at RCC’s campus over the last two years and is becoming a regular at the campus with a very positive reputation from the students as stated by RCC student Scott Coco from when the sweet stop was on campus “I hope this food truck is here to stay, I love the food and it’s convenient.”

The Car & Cycle Show took place at 2 p.m with more than 180 vehicles consisting of hot rods, old muscles and older luxury cars with a few choppers and Harley Davidsons. “I enjoy taking my 1958 GMC truck to the car show every year,” said Johnny Rivera a car show contestant. “For me it’s not just about winning, it’s about showing off my hard work and it puts a smile on my face when I can see people stare in amazement or just casually talk about how nice the truck is.”

The winner of the contest was a 1960 Volkswagen Type 2 bus, which was fully restored inside and out with historic Route 66 interior and exterior. After the judging the contestants were free to leave or stay until the end of the event, which was at 5 p.m. Most contestants stayed for the remainder of the day and either showed off their cars hydraulics or sound systems to attendants who happened to be walking by.

At the end of the event when attendants were getting ready to go home all that could be heard from the Jackson Street side of the event was a monstrous rumble followed by clouds of smoke that smelled of burnt rubber. The majority of contestants who had muscle cars and hot rods in the show were doing burnouts one after another as they left the closed streets. The crowds in the streets were cheering, as the cars were engulfed in clouds of smoke and could no longer be seen but only heard driving away.