Badu Park in Llano will be filled with authentic chuckwagons from all around the state Oct. 17-19 to compete in the 4th Annual Llano River Cookoff.
Tickets are now on sale and are selling fast. Those of you who have not purchased a ticket need to contact the Chamber of Commerce at 700 Bessemer St. or Nailhead Spur Co at 701 Ford St. before the tickets sell out.
This year, the cookoff has been expanded and made greater than ever before. The wagons will arrive Friday and set up historically correct camp sites to be judged on authenticity. After the judging has been completed, the food will be given to the wagons to start preparing for the Saturday noon meal.
The wagon crews, committee members, and sponsors are invited to come by the host wagon for a big bowl of chili and enjoy the live entertainment provided by Harold Castleman and his band as they play the old time trail songs and swing music.
Saturday will find the campfires going and cooks working to get food prepared for the noon meal and judging. Each team will be cooking chicken fried steak, beans, potatoes, bread and dessert to be judged and enjoyed by the ticket holders.
“As you wander among wagons watching history being relived as the cooks clang the lids on the Dutch ovens and stack coals to keep the pot boiling you find yourself interacting with the friendly cooks who don’t mind sharing what they are doing,” said Charles Wendt, chuckwagon cook and cookoff advisor. “Sometimes one of them will actually tell you the truth.”
As you enjoy the camp site and cooking, the entertainment tent will be reverberating with the sounds of Justin Trevino and the Llano Country Opry Band, interspersed with cowboy poetry and the sounds of the Harold Castleman band. The entertainment will kick off at 9 a.m. and last until 2 p.m.
After all of this excitement, the awards will be presented for the food and wagon judging. The overall winning team will receive custom made trophy buckles and a cash reward while all the other winners will get cash rewards.
“If this isn’t enough, hang around Sunday morning while Ken Barington and the Cross and Spurs preach the Word while Harold and his band play those good old time hymns,” said Wendt.
This will kick off at 8 a.m. and while the church service is going on, selected wagons will be cooking up some good biscuits and gravy for a free breakfast after church. Everyone is invited to come out and enjoy the weekend, relive history and feast on some of the finest chuck wagon food ever.
Saturday you can cross over the Llano River and go to the courthouse square for a fun filled day of vendors and entertainment at the Heritage Days Festival. The good time kicks off at 9 a.m. and lasts until 5 p.m. with food and live music.
“Don’t miss out on one the most pleasant events in Llano and what better way to spend a nice fall day,” Wendt said.