Chili Cook-Off Canceled Due to Virus Concerns

Festival goers enjoy a carnival ride at the 37th annual Malibu Chili Cook-Off in 2018.

For the first time in decades, there will be no carnival rides, no outdoor concerts, no games and no chili contest in Malibu this Labor Day Weekend.

This week, the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu (BGCM), now the organizers of the annual Malibu Chili Cook-Off, announced the festival would be “on COVID hiatus” this year—canceled due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

“This was a very difficult decision that we hoped would come to a different outcome,” organizers wrote in a statement published on Tuesday, July 14, adding, “With the recent spikes in cases and the near future being unpredictable, we feel this is the best decision in interest of our community’s health and safety. We have weighed all possible options, and we cannot hold an event that may further jeopardize the well-being of our community.”

The cook-off, one of Malibu’s longest-running traditions, first began as a chili contest and charitable endeavor in 1981. Up until 2018, it was hosted and run by the Malibu Kiwanis Club, before the BGCM picked up the baton, continuing the tradition of charitable giving as well as the live music, carnival rides and chili booths that have come to define the event.

Organizers wrote they are looking forward to reviving the tradition once social distancing rules end, pledging to host the 2021 Malibu Chili Cook-Off.