The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce is cooking up a feast of festivities for its 12th annual Chili-Fest to be held Oct. 29 beginning at noon, rain or shine, on Main Street in New Martinsville. This year the competition is hot as vendors compete for huge cash prizes up to $500. Be sure to sample all the entertainment and of course, the chili, at the 2011 Smoke on the Water Wetzel County Chili-Fest.
Beginning at 10:30 a.m. Main Street will be closed to traffic as volunteers and vendors transform downtown into the popular street fair for the community to enjoy. At the south end of the street runners will gather for the annual 5K/2K Fun Run/Walk sponsored by West Virginia Northern Community College's Phi Theta Kappa honorary society. The race begins at 11 a.m. and takes participants through the streets of beautiful downtown New Martinsville.
Pre-registration for the 5K Fun Run is $11, or $13 the day of the event, and $5 for the Kids 2K Fun Run. In the adult categories, awards will be given to the first two finishers in each age group; the first male and female participants in the 5K Run/Walk will also receive a trophy. In the kids' event, the first three finishers in each age group will receive a medallion.
While the chili is certainly the main culinary attractions, the many booths always have some other treats available to tempt the palate too.
Proceeds from the run will benefit PTK. Make checks payable to Phi Theta Kappa. Mail or drop off your application and payment to: WVNCC, 141 Main Street, New Martinsville. For more information call WVNCC at 304-455-4684. Visit rivercityrunners.com/2011_race_calendar.htm for an application and detailed information on the race under the appropriate calendar date listed.
Opening ceremonies and the lighting of the stoves will take place at 11:30 a.m. The Chili-Fest will get into full swing at noon when chili sales begin along with the kids costume parade/trick-or-treat event down Main Street. From 12:30-1:30 taste-off entries will be accepted at the chamber office.
Also during this time the Wetzel County Coalition Against Drug Abuse will sponsor a Prescription Drug Take Back. Bring unwanted or unused prescription drugs to the coalition to be safely dispose of and help prevent improper use and abuse of these substances in homes and neighborhoods.
Also at 12:30 p.m. will be the Classic Car Cruise-in sponsored by Fast Eddy's Tire and Paint, followed by a Little Mr. and Miss Chili Pepper Royalty Contest in the City Hall Court Yard at 1:30 p.m. The Prince and Princess Contest will include children ages two through four, and the King and Queen Contest will include participants age five through seven. Those crowned will receive Walmart gift cards. Should it rain, the royalty contest will be held at WVNCC.
At 2 p.m. Dos Hermanos Mexican restaurant will sponsor a pepper eating contest on the courthouse steps. The first place prize is a $25 gift certificate to Dos Hermanos in Paden City and a Chili-Fest t-shirt. The second place winner will receive a Chili-Fest t-shirt. Reserve your spot for the contest by calling 304-455-3825.
The Wetzel County Farm Bureau will hold its annual Ronald McDonald House Charity at the New Martinsville City Building at 1 p.m. Proceeds go to purchase items for the Morgantown Ronald McDonald House. Anyone who would like to donate an item to the auction or would like more information should contact Nell Yeager at 304-386-4567. The group will also be collection pop tabs and used printer cartridges that day. They can be dropped off at the City Complex between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
All day festivities at the Chili-Fest include children's games and activities complete with a jump castle. Miranda Stokes of By POPular Demand will create balloon art for children and adults alike and Rob Campbell will provide live musical entertainment. Also, Lite Rock 93R-FM/WXCR-FM radio will hold a live remote.
Between chili-sampling, stop by the many craft vendors and exhibitors who offer up beautifully hand crafted jewelry, wooden toys, painted porcelain, cards, and more.
At 4 p.m. awards and giveaways will be presented on the courthouse steps. First prize for the Chili Cook-off is $500, followed by $250 and $100 for second and third place, respectively. Best Costume, Best Table Decorations, and Peoples Choice will be awarded $50 each. Restaurants will compete for a trophy and bragging rights.
But you don't have to compete to win big at the Chili-Fest. Each hour free raffle drawings will take place for the public with prizes and gift certificates donated by local businesses including: the Academy for Dance and Theatre Arts; ArtsLink, Inc.; McDonald's; the New Martinsville Parks and Recreation Commission; Quinet's Court Restaurant; RadioShack; Subway No. 6173; Valley Cinema 3; and many more.
Additional sponsors include Dos Hermanos, Fast Eddy's Tire and Paint, Walmart, West Virginia Northern Community College, S&S Jewelry, and the Wetzel County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Festivities continue on Main Street throughout the evening with an auction at Christy's Antiques at 5 p.m. and live music at the Lincoln Theater at 7 p.m. provided by SI Connection.
To enter your special, spicy brew into the Chili-Fest, food must be prepared and cooked in a health department-approved kitchen and cooks must have a food handler's card. Food handlers classes are available at the Wetzel-Tyler Health Department.
Booth fees for chili vendors are $25. Booth space is also available for selling food items other than chili for $25 per space, and arts and crafts tables can be also be set up at $25 per space. Exhibits are free but must register at the chamber office.
The deadline to register as a chili vendor contestant, crafter, or royalty pageant contestant is Oct. 21. There is no limit to the number of chili vendors.