First Square Fair 2017

Southern Summer Chili Days are back in neighboring Shelbyville for the 13th year in conjunction with the 14th annual First Square Fair this weekend.

The fair is a celebration of The Shelbyville Plan, the first American designed courthouse square street plan. It was the first to be laid out with four streets of the same size intersecting at the corners. The plan was highly favored and copied in hundreds of towns in the early 1800’s and named The Shelbyville Plan.

The events kick off with one of two International Chili Society Sanctioned Chili Cook Offs ( The Southeastern Regional Cook-Off is on Friday evening starting at 3 p.m. Four categories consist of Salsa, Home Style Chili, Red Chili and Chili Verde. There is also an amateur category, where visitors can purchase a $10 Tasting Kit and vote for their favorite.

The ICS cooks are required to enter this division as well; however, a Tennessee resident will be crowned The Tennessee 3 Star Chili Champion from this division and take home a $400 prize. Chili Heads (as they call themselves), travel from as far away as Connecticut to Nebraska and from Florida to Texas and nine other states to compete in an effort to win a chance to compete in the World Championship in the fall that has a prize purse over $25,000. Visitors can sign up to judge the various categories and or start tasting at 5:30 p.m.

Live Music, food and craft vendors, as well as a show car cruise in, will be on hand Friday evening. The Dog Days of Summer, a dog and mutt on a leash show, has been moved to the Friday evening line up in an effort to keep the dogs paws off the hot pavement. The “fun” show will start at 6:30 p.m.

The Car Show of the South will be held Saturday, but the stage will also be rocking all day along with local and regional talent. There will be an ice cream eating contest at 1 p.m. and a chili dog eating contest at noon to add to the fun. Chili tasting will begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and vendor booths will be open at 9 a.m.