Say "fall" to the average Arkansan and most likely you'll see thoughts turning toward the start of football season. In the last couple of years, though, there's been something else to look forward to as the leaves start to change: cheese dip season. The premier cheese dip event in the state for the last two years has been the World Cheese Dip Championship, but the success of that event has spawned several other contests dedicated to chips dunked in melted cheese. If you just can't wait for the World Championship on October 20, you can get in on some queso competition action at this year's Hillcrest HarvestFest on September 22 from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. The cheese dip contest is part of a large slate of events in Hillcrest that include music, a car show, a fashion show, plus various activities for kids and grown-up kids alike.
The organizers of the festival are still looking for contestants, and they've extended their original August 15 deadline in order to give all you cooks the chance to show off your skills. In addition, entry to the contest is free thanks to a sponsorship from Kroger. If you're interested in participating, you can fill out an entry form and take a look at the rules and schedule of events. The contest is open to both professionals and amateurs, with prizes awarded in both categories. If you're just interested in getting some cheese on, in, or around your face, the sampling starts at noon. I'm participating as a judge this year, and the more cheese I can eat, the happier I'll be — so I hope to see you all there with huge tubs of the melted stuff.
Hillcrest HarvestFest will be held September 22 on Kavanaugh Boulevard between Walnut and Monroe St. The event is presented by the Hillcrest Merchant's Association with a portion of the proceeds going to the Allen School and the Center for Children & Families.