If you think it’s a little early to be getting into the Christmas spirit in Converse County, you might have a lot of people disagreeing with you this year.
In fact, one could argue that the true spirit of Christmas should be in our hearts all year long.
Whether you’re ready for it or not, Christmas has swept into Douglas and Glenrock full force, with holiday themed events going on for most of the next month.
In Douglas, the merriment began Nov. 18-19, with Cowboy Christmas taking place on the Wyoming State Fairgrounds and in businesses geared up to meet your holiday shopping needs from A-Z.
More than 100 vendors filled the halls of McKibben cafeteria and Ft. Reno Friday night and all day Saturday, while 11 hotshot chefs took over Ft. Caspar, vying for the position of grand champion in the Fire on Main Street Annual Chili Cookoff.
The competition was fierce, but that didn’t stop the College Inn Bar from snatching not only first place with their Chili with a K batch of magic, but also winning the People’s Choice award by just a single vote, according to The Enterprise Program Manager/Event Coordinator Jen Goodwin.
Best Looking Chili Booth accolades, chosen by musician Chad Lore, were awarded to Jennifer and Zach Anderson, with Mom’s Chili.
Brianne Darsey’s Bitchen Kitchen Chili scored second place, while Texas Tornado Chili by Emily Ellison placed third.
As much fun as the huge, town-wide Cowboy Christmas shopping event is, the chili competition always draws an enormous crowd. Lore, dressed as Santa Claus, kept the hall lively with festive music and cheer while emceeing the event.
Attendees were given 12 tickets and a wood coin to vote for their favorite chili.
Scott Bauman and Kelly Rowand, from the College Inn, served up their crowd pleasing chili Saturday. They arrived at Ft. Caspar at 5 a.m. to start cooking, they said.
“I can’t believe we ran out! People kept coming back with two, three, four tickets,” Rowand, the mastermind behind the College Inn’s chili recipe’s flavor, said. The award-winning goodness will be served at the bar for Thanksgiving, Bauman added.
Elsewhere in town, couples, grandmothers and grandchildren, and other shoppers were perusing the edible and non-edible goodies at the Moose Lodge craft fair and United Methodist Church’s holiday bazaar. A long list of businesses taking part in the weekend-long Holiday Open House held sales and raffles, with free hot cocoa and cookies to be found at a few of them.
It’s Christmas in Converse!