By Kara Van Pelt
Festivities for the 21st annual Chili Night kick off today at 5 p.m. With temperatures cooling down drastically, the time couldn’t be better to come out and enjoy some of the homemade chili featured at the event.
According to Jill Moorefield of Beckley Renaissance, there will be more than 40 chili vendors. Participants in the chili competition will include restaurants/catering firms, non-restaurant businesses, organizations, schools and individuals. Some of the participants will also be preparing spicy and/or specialty chili recipes such as veggie and turkey chili.
Panels of celebrity judges will select their favorite chili in four categories, plus the best-tasting spicy chili and the most unique chili. The public can vote for the Peoples Choice with voting coins that are distributed at admission. The $5 admission includes five sample tickets and a voting coin, Moorefield explained. Other vendors will be on hand to offer drinks and other food items.
“We hope that people will attend Chili Night to support our program as well as the scheduled local performers and all of the restaurants, businesses, organizations, schools and individuals who participate,” Moorefield said. “Chili Night has become an autumn tradition and social occasion where people enjoy a variety of chili and entertainment. Attendees are also encouraged to check out uptown restaurants as several of them will offer entertainment as the event winds down this evening.”
In addition to tasting chili recipes, attendees can enjoy entertainment at several stages. Music at Word Park on Neville Street will include Cinnamon Sensation, The McGraw Brothers and Six O’clock Sunday.
A stage near the intersection of Main and Kanawha streets will present Country Showdown winners Cody Wickline, Sara Wood, Travis Cutshaw and Krista Hughes, plus the Christian rock band Redeemed.
West Virginia Mixed Martial Arts will provide a martial arts demonstration, and the Flipstars will perform gymnastics in the Shoemaker Square area from 5 to 6 p.m. Mountain State Wrestling plans to be in the parking lot beside the gazebo in Shoemaker Square from 6 to 8 p.m.
Two booths, Raleigh County Airport and Slice of Life, will have singing contests, and Myers Amusements will offer ride and slide activities in the parking lot on Neville Street. John Luckton is also planning a midnight ghost tour after the event by reservation, Moorefield said. To make reservations, call 304-256-TOUR.
“The proceeds from Chili Night will help fund our events planned throughout the year such as Sweet Treats, Fridays in the Park, Wednesdays in the Square, car and bike shows, Taste of Appalachia, and the Kids Classic Festival,” Moorefield explained. “Our events committee, youth council and city departments work hard to offer fun events for our community. We appreciate the chili vendors who spend hours preparing chili and planning their booths, and the volunteers and sponsors who help make the event possible.”
Neville Street will be blocked at 2:30 p.m. for vendor setup, Moorefield said. She encouraged those attending to come early as chili goes fast.
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