Marion, Virginia

32nd Annual Downtown Marion Chili Cook-off, Car Show and Music Festival

The Town of Marion has long welcomed summer visitors on the third weekend in July with the Hungry Mother Arts & Crafts Festival and the Downtown Chili Championship.  This year, the community has added even more activities, providing a weekend full of free- and low-cost entertainment for all ages!

CHILI INFORMATION: If you're interested in being a food vendor, activity vendor or want to enter a Chili Team in to the Chili Championship, please call (276) 378-5026 to request an application.

SHINE N' SHOW CAR SHOW INFORMATION: Interested in entering your vehicle in the Car Show on Broad Street? All car, truck and motorcycle enthusiasts are encouraged to participate! Commemorative dash plaques are rewared to the first 100 participants. Trophies for People's Choice, Participant's Choice, Best in Show, and the Top Twenty winners will be announced in front of Stage 1 at 9 pm. Entry is $25, where $5 will be donated to the Iron Warriors Motorcycle Club. All participants must register on-site beginning at 5pm. EVERYONE MUST ENTER THROUGH LEE STREET.

ALL WEEKEND:  The 44th Annual Hungry Mother Festival, the longest running festival in the Virginia State Park system, features three days of arts, crafts, food, and entertainment at nearby Hungry Mother State Park. Parking: $6 per day, or $9 for a weekend pass.  For a full schedule, visit
Event hours: Friday, 10am-6pm
          Saturday, 10am-6pm
          Sunday, 10am-5pm


FRIDAY: For many years, Marion Downtown has hosted a Street Dance in front of the Court House Lawn with music featuring Phantom! This year is no different. 7pm - 10pm, come out and enjoy live music for free! Bring a lawn chair and some dancin' shoes!

SATURDAY:  Downtown's famous Chili Championship, celebrating its 32nd year!  Nearly a dozen chili teams will compete for the title of "Best Chili in Town," with tasting tickets available beginning at 6pm for $5.  

Main Street will be closed Saturday from Sheffey Street to Pendleton Street beginning at 11am for event setup.

• 8am-12noon: Marion Farmers Market OPEN: If you haven't had a chance to visit the Farmers Market, here's your chance! Fresh local produce, locally grown meats, eggs, flowers and herbs, baked goods, sourdough bread, and lots of handmade crafts! It's the perfect opportunity to shop local.

2:00pm - Participaing Downtown restaurants open outdoor dining and beverage gardens on Main Street.
                 - Kidz Zone open in Wells Fargo Parking Lot

3:00pm -  Chili Teams receive official command to begin cooking (teams lined up on Courthouse block).

• 5:00pm - LIVE MUSIC FEATURING THE CHURCH SISTERS on the Main Stage at the lower end of Main Street. At 5 PM, welcome The Church Sisters to the Main Stage, as they kick off the music for the night! Originally from the coal mining District of Dickinson County, VA and then Danville, VA, The Church Sisters' mesmerizing music chronicles their childhood with a haunting sound and blue-grass twist. Their roots extend through Bluegrass and Gospel, performing alongside legendary acts from a young age. The duo is featured on Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited, which was co-produced by Grammy® Award-winner and mentor, Carl Jackson. The Church Sisters delivered with “Where We’ll Never Grow Old,” one of the tracks on the two-disc project that also features legendary artists Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. They recently released a moving cover of Lukas Graham’s megahit “7 Years.” The song continues to see airplay at SiriusXM and comes to life in the girls’ first music video. Sarah and Savannah are currently in the studio with Grammy Award-winning producer Julian Raymond working on their debut project for The Valory Music Co.

• Also at 5:00pm - "The Hungriest Mother Great American Food Challenge": The food challenge will take place at the Chili Stage, in front of Marion Town Hall, and will feature delectable's from downtown eateries for the gastronomic adventurers! Ten participants for each contest. Registration begins at 4:45pm at the Chili Stage.

• 6:00pm - Chili Tasting bracelets go on sale ($5 per person) and chili is ready for tasting! You may purchase bracelets at the Chili Tent, located in the middle of Church Street.

• 6:00pm - LIVE MUSIC FEATURING IF BIRDS COULD FLY on the Chili Stage in front of Marion Town Hall. At 6 PM, If Birds Could Fly make their return debut to Marion and take the Chili Stage. If Birds Could Fly is an Americana duo from the Appalachian mountains, blending retro country, soul and rock-n-roll with an Appalachian accent to create a sound all of their own. This humble duo offers a refreshing take on Appalachian folk, classic Americana, and rock-n-roll. If Birds Could Fly is uniquely a bird of a different feather. This Southwest, VA, duo blends many genres to achieve their simplistic yet unmistakable sound. From Folk to Indie, there is something in their music that everyone can enjoy. From the soothing guitar melodies to vocal chills, this act promises to deliver a sound truly from their heart to those willing to listen.

• 7:00pm - LIVE MUSIC FEATURING HOGSLOP STRING BAND on the Main Stage: Hogslop String Band is a Nashville based old time string band comprised of four energetic young musicians hailing from Georgia and Tennessee. Featuring Casy Meikle and Kevin Martin on fiddles, Graham Sherrill on banjo, Gabriel Kelley on guitar and Casey "Pickle" McBride on the washtub bass, these boys surely raise a ruckus.

Upon forming as a pickup square dance band in the summer of 2009, The Hog Slop String Band has since become one of the most sought after old time string bands of the Tennessee Valley area. Known for their outrageous facial hair and a rollicking repertoire heavily based on Georgia and Middle Tennessee fiddle tunes, these boys have provided entertainment for fashion shows, political conventions and whiskey distilleries as well as countless weddings, festivals and soirees.

Following in the footsteps of such country music luminaries as Uncle Dave Macon and Gid Tanner, they put on a high energy show easily appreciated by both young and old alike. Despite an unkempt appearance, their undeniable charm is as certain to steal your heart as it will your daughters!

7:30pm - Winners of the Chili Cook-off Announced at the Chili Stage.

•  8:00pm - LIVE MUSIC FEATURING THE WHISKEY GENTRY on the Chili Stage: Paste Magazine was dead-on when they called The Whiskey Gentry a “toe-tapping, steamrolling kind of band, its fingers picking deep into fields of bluegrass, feet stomping in line with a punk-inspired kick drum.” Formed in 2009 by husband and wife duo Lauren Staley and Jason Morrow, The Whiskey Gentry is a group of seasoned veterans- to put things mildly, some of the finest pickers and musicians the Southeast has to offer.

A recent finalist in the Chris Austin Songwriting Competition held at Merlefest, Staley’s natural gifts with words and her powerful lead vocal abilities complement the band’s edgy interpretation of an otherwise traditional sound. All of this, coupled with a commanding and high-energy live performance, sets the bar for the way today’s country music ought to sound- honest, tight, daring, and void of pretension.

• 9:00pm - LIVE MUSIC FEATURING THE CLEVERLYS on the Main Stage - Headlining the event is none other than The Cleverlys. Digger Cleverly, along with his nephews Ricky Lloyd, Sock, DVD and STD, make up The Cleverlys. They have traveled the globe, if the globe only consisted of the United States, performing at PACs, music venues, and some of the nation’s largest festivals like Stagecoach, Telluride, CMA Fest and even the Grand Ole Opry.

There isn’t another act like this faux family band, mixing comedy and A-list musicianship. They guarantee your audiences will enjoy it or they will NOT give your money back. There is a reason why The Cleverlys are the lowest grossing act out there, and that’s tax evasion.

Some of the most popular tunes on The Cleverlys’ set list includes tunes like Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” a medley of Blackstsreet’s “No Diggity,” and Flo Rida’s “Low” that recently went viral on Facebook, with over 9.9 million views from a local TV appearance.

The New York Times wrote, “If Earl Scruggs, Dolly Parton, and Spinal Tap spawned a litter of puppies, it would be The Cleverlys.”


FREE SHUTTLE ALL WEEKEND:  Free shuttle service for all 3 days during Hungry Mother Festival hours will be provided by Mountain Lynx Transit with free bus rides between the Farmer’s Market in downtown Marion and Hungry Mother State Park and another bus within the Hungry Mother State Park with rides between the Boat Dock/Restaurant and the parking lot at Hemlock Haven. These free bus rides will depart each day on a schedule of every 30 minutes from the Farmer’s Market in downtown Marion beginning at 9:30am and go directly to the Hungry Mother State Park Boat Dock/Restaurant. The last free shuttle ride of the day back to downtown Marion departing Hungry Mother State Park Boat Dock/Restaurant will be at 6:00pm on Friday, 6:00pm on Saturday, and 5:00pm on Sunday. For more information and a complete schedule visit :

This event is sponsored by: Marion Downtown (MDRA), The Town of Marion, Virginia Toursim Corporation, East Main Rides, and more!

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Event Details


Downtown Marion, Main Street


Jul 21, 2018
2:00pm - 11:00pm