Cooler weather helps heat up Chili Cookoff
After an extra steamy start in 2017, Chili Cookoff 2018 gets a later date this time around.
“Last year we had it in September, so this year we went for October to actually be in the Breast Cancer Awareness month because part of our proceeds go to the Cumberland Valley Breast Cancer Awareness,” said Kim Tagg, event coordinator for Herald-Mail Media.
The event is sponsored by What’s NXT, CNB Bank Inc., Hagerstown Suns and Breast Cancer Awareness - Cumberland Valley Inc.
Tagg said there will be plenty for attendees to take in at the Saturday, Oct. 13, event at Municipal Stadium, 274 E. Memorial Blvd., in Hagerstown.
“We just blew it out of the water this year. We’re so excited about it. We’ve got 25 cook teams, and then we added a new element to the contest, it’s called the ‘Best Butt in Town.’ It is a pork barbecue competition and we have four teams for that, as well. Plus, we also have almost 20 craft vendors, 25 cook teams, and the four Best Butt in Town teams, so it’s gonna be a great day,” she said.
Four levels of prizes will be offered, Best Chili; Best Booth Display; Best Butt in Town; and People’s Choice. Best Chili nets a $1,000 prize and trophy; Best Booth Display is for the participant or team whose booth boasts the best decorations, which is worth $250 plus a trophy. The Best Butt in Town, for pork barbecue, is determined by attendees and will net $250 for the winner. The People’s Choice award is also determined by attendees.
“This is my favorite,” Tagg said. “In the goodie bags that everyone receives at the front gate, it has a (set of) beads in it to put around your neck. And you choose who you feel is the best cooker or the best chili and you put it around the cooker’s neck. And then at the end we count how many beads they have, and they win the prize, which is $500. I think that’s pretty awesome, plus (they get) a trophy.”
Those who attend can also cool down with some blues music provided by Baltimore-based Kelly Bell Band, and there will be children’s entertainment as well.
“We have kids activities, there’s going to be things for them to do that day. We have a face painter and there’s some other projects we’re going to be working on for the kids, so that’s exciting, plus, already at the stadium, they have a bounce house that’s there, and they also have a machine where you pitch and it tells you how fast your pitch is for the kids as well,” Tagg said.
Advance tickets cost $10 for adults; $5 for ages 12 and younger; and children ages 3 and younger are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased by going to www.showclix.com and searching for Chili Cookoff 2018. The price of adult admission at the gate is $15. However, breast cancer survivors, who register in advance will be admitted free.
“You need to let us know ahead of time so we can have you on the list. You can call me at 301-791-7091 and let me know, and I’ll put your name down,” Tagg said.
As of press time Wednesday, Saturday’s forecast for Hagerstown calls for partly sunny skies and a seasonable high of 57 degrees.
“It’s in October and I hear it’s supposed to be beautiful on Saturday, knock on wood, I hope it is. Last year it was like 100 degrees out, so this year I hope it’s not quite as hot but nice,” Tagg said with a laugh.
Overall, Tagg said the event can be enjoyed by everyone.
“The band’s gonna be awesome. It benefits a great cause, Breast Cancer Awareness - Cumberland Valley, they get part of the proceeds from the chili cookoff, plus just tasting good chili and kids having fun, and visiting the crafters. It’s at the Suns' stadium so you’re actually out on the field and walking around, so it’s just a fun day,” she said.
Top photo: Chili cookers and attendees are shown at the 2017 Chili Cookoff. (Photo by Crystal Schelle)