ILION – Tie on your bibs and get ready to taste the heat at the Mohawk Valley Rotary Club’s first Chili Challenge Cook-Off later this month.
The competition will take place Feb. 11, noon to 3 p.m., at Francesca’s Banquets & Catering, on East Main Street in Ilion.
Thirteen area businesses have signed up to compete for the titles of Hottest Chili, Best Presentation, Most Unique and People’s Choice – titles that will be decided on by Chili Challenge attendees, said Francesca Magro, owner of Francesca’s Banquets & Catering and event chair for the Rotary Club. Winners will receive a plaque to display and bragging rights.
Thus far, competitors include Heidelberg Café, PK’s Pub, Moose River Coffee, Franco’s, Fat Cats, Asteroga Ale House and Brass Tack, to name a few. And there is room for more, Magro said. Businesses looking to join in the fun should contact her at (315) 895-0800.
More than tasting chili, the family-friendly event will include a beer tasting put on by Saranac Brewery, a 50/50 raffle and music by DJ Kenny the Promo Guy, all hosted by WKTV’s Steve McMurray.
“It’s a great time for all,” Magro said. “My favorite part about this event is the fellowship and providing an opportunity for the community to come out in the winter to support an amazing organization that gives back to the Mohawk valley.”
Magro has hosted a number of chili challenges in years past, put on by the American Red Cross. Since that organization no longer holds such an event, the Rotary Club decided to try their hand at it. Club members anticipate the cook-off will serve as their largest fundraiser for the year.
Tickets to the Chili Challenge will be available at the door on the day of the event for $10.
The Mohawk Valley Rotary Club serves the villages of Mohawk, Ilion, Herkimer and Frankfort with the goal of giving back to the community with members’ time and effort as well as money earned through fundraising. The club is involved with the local Adopt-a-Highway program, supports Catholic Charities and Salvation Army food pantries and participates in Books for the World, the international Youth Exchange program and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library literacy program, among other things.