GENERAL RULESC:\Users\sdavis\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\1Z5WVCJQ\AR Italian Fest_Primary Logo_Official.png

Spaghetti gravy is defined as the juice exuded by cooking meat and Italian seasonings; also, a sauce made from it. The meat or gravy for the contest may not be precooked, sauced, or marinated in any way prior to inspection at the beginning of the contest. This will result in disqualification.

The Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival Spaghetti Gravy Cooking Contest will be held at the Clinton Library grounds where other activities such as Bocce Tournament, Soccer Tournament, Arts & Crafts, live Entertainment and other events will also be taking place.


NO vehicular movement will be allowed within the contest area at any time during the Festival. We will have our transportation to help you. There will be one entrance and exit. You will have to be patient with others and us and we will help each team accordingly. Teams are not allowed to have golf carts or any other vehicles on the park grounds. Any vehicles of teams (members or friends) parked in non-designated parking areas will be cause for disqualification of that team. If allowed on field, you must unload vehicles immediately and park elsewhere.

The Team Captain will be held responsible for the conduct of his team and guests. Under NO circumstances are alcoholic beverages to be distributed (given away or sold) to the general public by the contestants. The Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival Committee requests and requires that good taste be used with your conduct as well as your spaghetti gravy. We want each team to have a good time and we want a good atmosphere for those who attend.

The Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival Committee is not responsible for tents or other equipment left unattended either before, during or after the contest, even though there will be security guards at the park. Please secure items before leaving the park.


The competition will take place on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Library on Saturday, April 27.  Load in begins on Saturday morning at 8:00AM.  Instructions & directions for load in will be mailed out at the mandatory meeting two weeks prior to the event.  Each contestant must check-in at Judges Tent. At the time of check-in, you will verify contestant numbers and cooking area assignments.

  1. Competitors will be required to cook on propane cookers - NO ELECTRICAL will be provided.  You must be completely self-contained.
  2. Meat must be at 40 degrees or less before cooking. Please ensure this rule is followed or you will be disqualified from the competition and your fees will not be refunded.  Judges will come to your tent to test temperatures prior to cooking your gravy.
  3. After cooking, the meat gravies must be maintained at 140 degrees or above in a covered container. Hats and gloves must be worn by the Cook and all food handling Assistants.
  4. Cleanliness of the cook, assistants, & contestant area is required.
  5. No live animals are allowed in the cooking area at any time.  This is grounds for disqualification.
  6. Each contestant must cook enough spaghetti gravy to give out samples to all five (5) judges.  If you run out of spaghetti gravy before the judging is completed, you will be qualified.


Each contestant competing shall supply ALL of his own meat, cooking ingredients, individual cooking devices (propane only), utensils, preparation tables, etc.  Each contestant may have as many assistants as necessary.  During the contest judging, only the Chief Cook and five (5) Assistants will be allowed in the cooking area. Any cook or assistant that handles food in any way must comply with all cleanliness rules as defined below.

Judging of the spaghetti gravy entries will involve two procedures occurring simultaneously.

  1. Professional Division (off-site cooking) will turn their sauce in a 20 oz. container to the judges no later than 11:45 A.M.
  2. The Amateur Division (on-site cooking) will turn their sauce in a 20 oz. container no later than 1:45 P.M. to the judges.

The two categories will be judged separately. There will be three (3) ON-SITE judges coming at different times ranging about 15 to 20 minutes apart, this is why one (1) judge should not stay more than 15 minutes.   Gravy will be judged on the following criteria:


All prize winners may be asked to disclose their recipes in writing.

Trophies will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams along with one (1) Showmanship Award for best decorations / presentation.  Decisions of the Spaghetti Gravy Cooking Contest Chairmen and Judges are FINAL.

Violations of rules and regulations of the contest may result in disqualification, expulsion from grounds, and\or disqualification from future participation.

Be sure to read and keep the rules and regulations for the Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival Spaghetti Gravy Cooking Contest.  Copies of the rules and regulations are available online or by requesting via email to


The fee to compete in the amateur sauce competition is $50.00 (no fee for the Professional Division).  Please make checks payable to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arkansas.  The grand prize for the amateur competition is $500.  Competitors will be required to supply a tent (no larger than a 10x20 space) as well as tables & chairs.

The selection committee reserves the right to reject any application.

If your application is not accepted, your fees will be refunded by mail. If your application is accepted and you participate as a contestant.  No refunds of the entry fees will be made once you have been accepted into the contest whether you appear or not.

Applications submitted are not a guaranteed entrance into the contest. There is space for twenty (20) contestants only. Applications will be accepted by mail only after early sign-up meeting if space is available, send to following address and make check payable to:

Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival

ATTN: Scot Davis

P.O. Box 7454

Little Rock, AR 72217


It is the responsibility of each contestant to see that the contest area is kept clean and that the area is cleaned and all equipment removed from site on Saturday immediately following the contest. Any space left in disarray or with loose or bundled trash and garbage will disqualify the team from future participation.

The Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival Committee reserves the right to make additional regulations as the situation warrants.  

If you have any questions or need to make arrangements, please call Scot Davis at:

(870) 219-8300 or email