B y Jaime Thomas
Things are about to get spicy in Poultney.
Combining lots of chili, an auction, a race and art is the Poultney Rotary Club’s 24th annual Chili Cook Off this Saturday, Sept. 28.
“It’s quite a deal. It’s well attended, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Harry Stanyon, a member of the Rotary Club.
On the day of the event will be a 5k run and an auction of gift baskets, gift certificates to local restaurants and other items. Main Street will be blocked off, and a DJ will add to festivities.
Individuals and groups are encouraged to participate in the cook off and the only requirements are creativity and at least 5 gallons of prepared chili.
Stanyon said more than 20 individual and group cooks are on tap to participate in the event this year and upward of 1,000 patrons typically come to sample the various recipes.
“People like to be out and tasting chili,” Stanyon said, adding that tasters collect the ceramic tasting cups.
Cooks will compete for up to $900 in cash prizes in several categories: $100 for best chili by popular vote; $100 for the best entry in the student category; $100 for best vegetarian chili; and $50 for best themed both (costumes are encouraged). Cash prizes will also be awarded to the first place ($300) and second place ($250) finishers in the Vermont Chili Champion category.
“We’ll have the silent auction again and new this year is a huge raffle,” Stanyon said. This year Patio Essentials of Granville N.Y., and Hubbardton Forge of Castleton, Vt., have donated two prizes for a raffle.
Patio Essentials donated a five-piece wicker patio set including four chairs with a glass top, and Hubbardton Forge donated a 33-inch table lamp.
Only 200 tickets will be sold. They can be purchased at a few area Poultney Businesses–TOT’s Diner, Williams Hardware, Full Belly Deli and Everyday Flowers. Some tickets will be available the day of the cook-off near the silent auction tables.
There is no charge to participate in the event as a cook.
The event will be held rain or shine. Cooking begins at 8 a.m.; music begins at 10 a.m. and tasting (it costs $8 to taste with a plastic cup and $11 with a ceramic cost) is between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
There will also be an Art on Main Street event held in conjunction with the cook off on the town green. The Poultney Area Guild will be putting up seven to eight booths displaying local artists.
Additionally, students from LiHigh School will be hosting kids’ activities on the school lawn. They will have an arts and crafts table, face painting, three-legged races, doughnut-eating races and more.
The students ask that participants donate a book to participate; books will go toward a group project making Little Free Libraries. These structures look like large birdhouses filled with books and are placed around communities; anyone can take a book as long as one is left in its place.
Also on Saturday, the Main Street Park group from Poultney 2020 will have a display in the space next to Poultney Auto Supply Store showing two possible locations and layouts. The group will be asking for community input.
The Stone Valley Arts group will have an open house on the third floor of the Journal Press Building, where there will be art demos, readings, music and a special reading from the new play by Burnham Holmes.
There is no charge for entering chili. To register for the cook-off or to get more information, call 236-6158.