Helping Hands of Ennis has joined the line up of booths and events that will be on hand during the sixth annual Autumn Days in the Ennis Fall Festival, to be held Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. in downtown Ennis.

The organization will be getting a little help from members of the Ennis Police Department and the Ennis Fire Department as teams compete in a chili cook-off. Helping Hands Board President Katherine Jones said the idea is new for the festival but she has seen it work in other areas.

“My husband and I have seen this type of event in other small towns and communities and it has always gone over very well. I am confident that this is a great situation for everyone involved; the public will have the opportunity to meet some of the members of the police and fire departments and Helping Hands will benefit from funds raised as well as the exposure it will bring to the organization,” she said.

The teams will prepare a beef based chili that will be cooked on site at the festival grounds and when it is done, the public will get to have their say in who the winner is. For those that want to participate, a sample of the chili and a ballot to vote is available for $3. Additional ballots can be purchased at a cost of $1.

“This is a bragging rights contest for both sides so if someone really wanted to help their team out and purchase additional ballots to vote, we would certainly allow that. This may be the only time in a democratic nation where voters can cast more than one ballot,” Jones said with a laugh.

Other entertainment that will be at the Historic Downtown Merchant Association hosted event will include: performances by the Ennis Czech Boys, the local classic rock band Pontiax, a martial arts demonstration by the Ennis Black Belt Academy and a highly anticipated performance by the Aggie Wranglers, an award winning country-western dance troupe from Texas A & M University.

The festival is sponsored by the Ennis Arts Commission, which has once again enlisted the expertise of Chad Wester to be the master of ceremonies at the main stage, located in front of Pollan's Furniture store N.W. Main St.

The event is family oriented and includes many free children's activities, such as a balloon artist that will be demonstrating his art and offering balloons to the children, a pumpkin decorating booth, a fall photo booth, a petting zoo and face painting.

Other activities that will be offered on a fee basis include: pony rides, a tiger slide, an obstacle course and much more.

The Downtown Merchants Association will also be selling raffle tickets for the annual quilt drawing. Tickets will be sold at participating merchants in the downtown area and at the festival.

Booth space in the new section of “Scarecrow Lane” is still available for businesses, service groups and other organizations to promote their industry or cause and only costs $25. Applications are available at the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau. Regular vendor applications for arts/crafts booth are also still being accepted through the end of September.

For more festival information, please contact the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau at (972)-878-4748 or visit the Web site at