The 13th annual Chili Cookoff will be held on the Marina Nuevo Vallarta malecon on Saturday, December 7, from 4-8 p.m.
Sponsors Vallarta Yacht Club is looking for restaurants, individuals and teams to sign up for the event. Some top restaurants in Nuevo Vallarta and surrounding areas will be offering tasting samples from their menus at the cookoff.
For those not in the know, the cookoff features competitive sampling of chili recipes, as prepared by individuals or teams, as well as professional chefs from local restaurants.
Individuals may purchase sampling tickets for ten pesos to taste the chili or any other types of food offered. Tickets are also good for the purchase of bottled water, soda, beer, wine and margaritas.
Net proceeds will be evenly split between Families of the Dump and the Puerto Vallarta Navy League’s Toys for Tots program.
New tour opportunities
Ruth Hazlewood, owner of Experience Mex-ECO Tours, has been running trips to different areas of Mexico from Melaque for the past seven years and has recently opened an office in Bucerias.
Mex-ECO Tours offers multi-day trips to the Copper Canyon, Morelia Monarch Butterfly sanctuaries, Chiapas and Oaxaca, among other places.
The next tour on the calendar leaving from Bucerias is a two-day shopping trip to Guadalajara on December 11 and 12.
The tour company also provides private tours for a minimum of 20 people. Send them an e-mail with the details (destination, number of people and proposed dates) and they will contact you with a quote.
The new office in Bucerias is at Lazaro Cardenas 39B, between Galeana and Morelos. The phone number is (329) 298-1232.
A winning Christmas
What first started out as an idea for a community Christmas tree has turned into a challenge with potential benefits for the Bucerias community.
Floydilou Kerr, the owner of the Bucerias School of Art, mentioned to a friend her idea of building a giant Christmas tree that would help residents and tourists get into the Christmas spirit.
The friend instead suggested a Christmas tree contest, using only recycled materials, with a winner selected by people voting for the “Best Dressed Tree,” counting the pesos deposited into each tree’s collection box.
The money deposited would be donated to a local charity identified at each location of a tree.
“There is no fee to enter this contest, only innovation,” Kerr says.
The contest will run for a period of three Bucerias Art Walk dates, from December 19 to January 2, primarily along the Art Walk route, along Lazaro Cardenas, from the Decameron Resort to the “Kissing Bridge” footbridge, which crosses the arroyo into the center of Bucerias.
Kerr is encouraging individuals, teams, businesses and non-profit organizations to create innovative trees of any size, using plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans.
She says the contest will make everyone a winner. “The charity associated with each tree benefits from the donations. Business-sponsored trees benefit from a means to promote their business, and when the contest is over, all of the recyclable containers will go into area recycling baskets, rather than to the landfill.”
Go to www.BuceriasArt.com/events to see the list of participants and follow along as Kerr posts videos and photos. Also see www.facebook.com/BuceriasArt.
Art, wine & tapas
Bucerias artist Sandra Nitchie has an idea for people to learn to paint in a fun way.
She suggests joining her and others for delicious tapas and wine (or a refreshing fruit drink), while learning the basics in acrylic painting: mixing color, brush and layering techniques and more.
“Bring a friend or two and make it a party,” she says.
The Art, Wine and Tapas Party is scheduled every other Thursday, from 4-7 p.m., prior to the Bucerias Art Walk (which is every Thursday, from 7-9 p.m., along Lazaro Cardenas in Bucerias).
It takes place in the heart of the Art Walk area, at the Bucerias School of the Arts at Lazaro Cardenas 64.
The cost is 500 pesos, with a 200-peso deposit required.
Nichie offers a 10-percent discount if the fee is paid in full by noon on the Monday of the week of the party.
The price includes canvas, painting supplies, art lesson, tapas and a complimentary glass of wine or non-alcoholic drink. Reservations are required due to limited space. The class size is four to six people.
The next Investours Bucerias Walking Tour on Monday, December 2 will have a different focus. In the past, tour groups met with local entrepreneurs and listened to their business ideas. At the conclusion of the tour, they decided which would receive an interest-free micro-loan.
Investours used to call their walking tours a “microfinance education tour,” intended to teach participants about interest rates, group lending and other financial nomenclature.
“We were basically putting them to sleep,” says Elly Rohrer, director of Investours Mexico. “Now, we focus our energies on teaching them how to support the local economy.”
Says Rohrer: “We teach tourists positive things they can say to local entrepreneurs, give them a list of translated menu items, explain how to distinguish safe versus scary restaurants, etc. Like before, our mission is to foster these cross-cultural interaction in a way that stimulates the local economy.”
Nonprofit Investours does not charge a fee for their walking tours, but rather relies on donations at the end of the tour. Last year, participants were simply asked to donate what they felt the tour was worth to them. Now Investours pays the artisans who are visited on the tour a fair rate for their time and products. A charge of 1,250 pesos in overhead, to cover the costs of hosting the tours, is added to the total and divided by the number of tour participants, so that each participant knows the value of their participation.
At the end of each Bucerias Walking Tour, the calculation is shown to the tour participants and they are encouraged to donate what is needed to cover costs, usually, 250 pesos per person, for a tour with ten people.
“They usually donate more and any additional donations will go back to our artisans via our small grants program,” explains Rohrer.
For more information on Investours walking tours and artisan tours, call Rohrer at 322-191-5309.