On Saturday the spicy aroma of chili will fill the downtown area of New Martinsville as part of the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce's 13th annual Chili-Fest. Rain or shine, the fun, food, and festivities will take on Main Street from 1-4 p.m.
Main Street will be closed beginning at noon to allow time for chili concession set up. Taste-off entries will also be accepted at the Chamber Office from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Chili sales begin at 1 p.m., along with the costume parade that lines up in front of Christy's. Costumed children and pets will parade north on Main Street. After they reach the northern end of the Chili-Fest area, ribbons will be awarded and then the children can trick or treat in a southern direction from the vendors.
The Farm Bureau Auction will take place at the city hall, also at 1 p.m. Proceeds from this event will go to the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown. (See related story on this website.)
At 1:30 p.m., the Royalty Contest will take place at the City Hall courtyard. The Little Miss and Mr. Chili Pepper is open to kids ages two to four years, whereas children ages five to seven years old are eligible for the chili prince and princess royalty contest.
The hot pepper eating contest will commence at 2 p.m. This event is sponsored by Dos Hermanos and will take place in front of the courthouse. Also at the courthouse, Rob Campbell will be providing live music from the courthouse porch throughout the event.
Activities for kids include a costume parade, a sidewalk chalk contest, bounce castles, balloon art, and other games and activities.
There will be crafters, exhibitors, and vendors. But most importantly, there will be plenty of chili to heat up the atmosphere, including both chili sampling and a chili taste-off.
The winner in the restaurant chili category will win a trophy, blue ribbon, and bragging rights of Best Chili. Ribbons are awarded for first, second, and third place in each of the other categories- non-profit, individual, and professional. Then all of those categories, with the exception of restaurant, will compete for the monetary prizes: first place, $500; second place, $250; and third place, $100. Chili is judged based on flavor, texture, consistency, blend, aroma, and color.
The public also gets to voice their opinions by choosing a People's Choice chili that will receive a $50 award. There are also $50 awards for the entrants with the best costumes and the best decorated table.
Winners will be announced in front of the courthouse at 4 p.m.
A limit of 30 chili entrants will be accepted. While the entry deadline is today, organizers said they will still accept registrants on that day. So get your group together, cook up a giant batch of chili, and join the fun.
All chili ingredients must be supplied by the entrant and sample size cups will be provided by the chamber and sold to the public for 50 cents a cup. Each participant will be given a two-ounce ladle to keep the samples uniform and encourage the public to sample chili from each booth. Other sizes of chili can be sold and priced at the participants' discretion.
The Chamber will also supply each booth with spoons and napkins. Electric will be supplied to each booth thanks to Bridgeport Equipment donating generators for that purpose. The chili vendors can use the electric to cook or keep warm their chili-a change from last year.
Food must be prepared and cooked in a health department-approved kitchen with verification. Food handlers classes are available at the Wetzel-Tyler Health Department.
Booth fees for chili vendors are $25, whereas those selling food items other than chili will be charged a fee of $20 per space. Those who wish to sell arts and crafts will need to pay $20 per space. Exhibits are free but require registration at the chamber office.