By Madison Fisler Lewis
Jan. 8, 2015. WinterFest weekend is all about celebrating the cold, but one event strives to heat things up a little bit. The annual Chilly Chili Cookoff Challenge will take place on Sunday, Jan. 24, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Blowing Rock Elementary School. Live music for the event will be provided by Mountain Radio.
Now hosted by the Blowing Rock School PTO, the yearly chili cook-off between restaurants, freestyle cooks and proclaimed chili-masters is hot competition indeed, with many different entrants preparing their honed recipes to take home the top prize. The event annually draws a huge crowd to try all of the different chili offered by the fierce competition.
“We usually have about 1,000 people come,” said Kevin Tincher of the Blowing Rock School PTO, who coordinates the event.
“Last year we raised about $7,000 and then after expenses we made about $4,500. Last year we were raising funds to go toward the new playground at the school, and this year we are working to help raise funds for continued teacher requests at the school. The teachers need new materials, encyclopedias for the library and an upgraded online library system. A lot of these requests are mandated by the state, but the state does not pay for it, so we are raising funds to help the school get updates that it needs.”
There will be three categories in the competition, from freestyle, to business, and restaurant categories, and chili gurus will face fierce competition for the top prize. There will also be a “People’s Choice Award” so make sure to come out and vote for your favorites while supporting a great cause.
The people’s choice award is a fantastic way for citizens to get involved in the fiery competition. Don’t forget to stop by and try all the delicious creations and cast your vote! And if you have a great recipe of your own that you want to enter for a chance to win top prize, there’s still time! Registrations will be taken in advance, and in person on the day of the event. If you are interested in entering a recipe into the 17th annual Chilly Chili Cookoff, simply fill out a form here, pay your entry fee and bring your chili to be tasted and judged.
“We will still be taking registrations until the day of, and we are still soliciting volunteers and prizes,” Tincher said.
For those who want to get a taste of the delicious recipes, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and under receive free admission to the event. If you’re still a bit hungry after trying all of the chilis that the event has to offer, a Chili Bowl Bar will be available for $4 per bowl.
To purchase tickets for this event, call the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at 828-295-7851 or visit the office at 132 Park Avenue. In addition, tickets may also be purchased through the Blowing Rock Elementary School PTO.
Don’t miss out on what has become one of the most highly anticipated events in the High Country, and come out to support a great cause.
Check out photos from previous competitions.
Photos by Ken Ketchie