St. Louis Center staffers Michelle Mikolajczyk, Kassandra Lewis, Tifani Barnett, and Kaitlyn LaRocque, helped residents Linda and Jerome make a splash at the Jackson Chili Cook-off.

Four adults in the lobby at St. Louis CenterMonster Motors presented St. Louis Center with a Meijer gift card to purchase ingredients for the chili at the cook-off. Monster Motors visited the Center on Thursday, September 21st to present the gift.

Downtown Jackson’s Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off: A Day of Races, Chili, and Community Spirit


Downtown Jackson came alive with excitement as the annual Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off kicked off with a thrilling countdown to the Oktoberfest 10 and 5k races, hosted by Orthopedic Rehab Specialists. The streets buzzed with energy as runners laced up their shoes for a brisk morning run. Following the races, it was time for the little superheroes of Jackson to shine, as the Kids Race unfolded, complete with tiny caped crusaders battling the villains of downtown.


As the sun climbed high in the sky, Michigan Avenue became a battleground for chili supremacy. Dozens of competitors lined the streets, ready to unveil their secret chili concoctions to a hungry and eager crowd. Among these contenders was a team of chili experts representing St. Louis Center, on a mission to bring home a trophy.

Early in the morning, Kaitlyn, the Kitchen Manager, and Michelle, the Community Outreach Specialist, set up the St. Louis Center booth, with a delightful “Backwoods Chili” theme. The booth featured a charming teddy bear whose motto declared, “I used to love honey until I tried Backwoods Chili.” Laughter and curiosity wafted through the air as they set the stage for their culinary masterpiece.

To qualify in this chili showdown, all recipes had to be prepared from scratch, right on the spot. The St. Louis Center team rolled up their sleeves, chopping, dicing, and cooking their way through an array of precious ingredients. As the chili simmered in the pots, the anticipation grew.

Adding to the excitement, residents Linda and Jerome joined in on the action, soaking in the festival’s vibrant atmosphere and even getting the chance to savor some of the mouthwatering chilies. It was a day to bask in the warmth of the sun, savor good food, and make new friends, exemplifying the true spirit of community.

Community Spirit

Over the course of the day, more than 1,200 one-ounce samples of St. Louis Center’s “Backwoods Chili” were dished out to the eager taste testers. While the trophy might have eluded the Center’s crew, the real victories were the countless new friendships formed and the memories created that will last a lifetime.

In the heart of downtown Jackson, the Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off was more than just a culinary competition; it was a celebration of unity, good food, and the indomitable spirit that makes communities thrive. A day where everyone came out a winner, with hearts and bellies full of warmth and camaraderie.

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