ALTON - Alton Main Street will host the Downtown Alton Chili Cook-Off, a longtime tradition that encourages Alton businesses and community members to compete for the best chili recipe.
From noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, you can sample chili from different teams representing Alton businesses, restaurants, organizations and individuals. A panel of judges will give cash awards to the best recipes, and you can vote for your favorite to receive the People’s Choice Award and coveted silver ladle.
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“The chili cookoff is just a great civic event where amateur chefs and professional chefs can put their recipes up against each other,” said Sara McGibany, the executive director of Alton Main Street. “It would be wonderful to see a full house there for people who are interested in supporting our efforts to revitalize downtown and to really just come out and see friends, maybe make some new friends, and have a great lunch.”
The Lodge at the Lovejoy, located at 401 Piasa Street, will host the event with live music from Big George Jr. and the NGK Band. Alton Main Street aims to revitalize downtown Alton by organizing events, supporting local businesses and completing beautification projects. The Downtown Alton Chili Cook-Off will serve as a fundraiser for their work.
They also hope the event will draw people downtown to see what Alton has to offer. Alton Main Street has overseen the chili cook-off for the past ten years, though McGibany said the event has been a tradition for “at least 30 years, if not longer.”
“People love chili,” McGibany said. “As soon as it starts getting a little bit cold, everybody immediately turns their attention to events like this because it’s just kind of a comfort food thing. It does bring a lot of people downtown, and then they end up sticking around and shopping and maybe going out to dinner after the chili cook-off. So it’s just kind of a magnet to draw people downtown to shop and dine and be entertained.”
If you or your business, restaurant or organization are interested in competing, visit the official Downtown Alton Chili Cook-Off webpage to register your team. McGibany said the cook-off is especially fun for people with “a competitive spirit,” and some groups even hold in-house competitions to decide which recipe will represent them.
“We love hosting events that just bring people together,” McGibany added.
For more information about Alton Main Street’s upcoming events, including the chili cook-off, check out their website at DowntownAlton.com/Events.
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