The World Cheese Dip Championship supporting Harmony Health Clinic has been a staple of the Arkansas food festival scene for the past twelve years. With any festival, changes happen every year. Some are small and barely noticeable to the public, others are large adjustments to position it for another long run (think Greek Food Festival to-go orders). For the Cheese Dip Championship, this represents one of those large change years.
Coming out of COVID, the Cheese Dip festival intentionally reduced size and moved to the River Market pavilions. That move served it well to offer a more intimate festival, but it quickly outgrew the space as more people began returning to festivals. This year the festival will take place this Friday (November 17th) at 6pm at a new location in Dickey Stephens park. The move allows a better flow for visitors, the potential to add many more competitors in the years to come, and support for a number of new ideas in the following years.
The biggest of those new ideas is reviving the Foam Fest Beer Festival. Foam fest was one of the first craft beer festivals in the city and allowed local and regional brewers as well as home brewers an event to showcase and sample their brews. The original organizer of that festival (then under the Arthritis Foundation) is now the executive director of Harmony Health, the organizer of Cheese Dip Championship.
Cheese Dip competitors this year include:
Mockingbird, Stoby’s, Acxiom, BCW, Big Whiskey, Standard Computer, Purple Cow, Dizzy’s, Lela’s, Prestonrose, Moe’s, Good Thyme, White Hall Fresh Market, Twin Peaks, and for the first time we will introduce a Cheese Dip Hall of Fame contestant in Loca Luna that will bring back the original white cheese dip that they introduced to the world under former sister restaurant Blue Mesa Grill.
It will be one of the strongest lineups in recent years with many former judges and people’s choice winners competing.
On the Foam Fest side there will be representation from a large portion of the state’s breweries, many home brewers, regional beers, and even our first ever craft Sake by way of Origami Sake out of Hot Springs.
Tickets for the event are $15 for Cheese Dip only or designated drivers ($10 for kids) or $40 for Cheese Dip + Foam Fest. Both sets include unlimited samples of cheese dip and unlimited samples of beer if you opt for the foam fest tickets. You can purchase those tickets here, or buy them at the door.