Is there the smell of chili in the air?

It could be that rustic fragrance coming from the cooking pots of members of Conway’s Civic Clubs, gearing up for the Fourth Ever Civic Club Cook-Off Challenge, set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in Simon Park in Downtown Conway.

The event is part of ArtsFest.

Returning champions are members of the Morning Rotary Club who have won in categories of best chili, determined by anonymous judges; crowd favorite, picked by the most bowls sold – at $5 each; and "spirit," for costumes and theme of the booth.

Proceeds from the sale of the chili go to Conway Alliance for the Arts, CAFTA, sponsor of ArtsFest.

A new wrinkle this year will be the sale of homemade cupcakes at $1 each with proceeds going to Polio Plus, a Rotary project aimed at ending polio throughout the world.

Civic clubs that have answered the call in the past include Sunshine Optimists, Faulkner County Board of Realtors, Conway Kiwanis Club, Conway Noon Rotary Club, Conway Lions Club, Conway Junior Auxiliary and others.

(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at and 505-1234.)