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Restaurant Category Added To Chili Fest Events

By Staff | Oct 9, 2008

For nine years, the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce has been holding a celebration of the finest spicy chili in the valley. In the past, the Chili-Fest has been a showcase of some of the tastiest, hottest, most delectable chili available for countless miles around. Local businesses, groups raising money for various charities and individuals, touched by the hand of the divine with an extraordinary capacity to bring happiness via their remarkable beef and bean concoctions, have vied for the mantle of champion. The Chili-Fest has become a true New Martinsville tradition. From the opportunity to sample a broad range of styles of chili to the chance to try and down more blazing hot peppers than your neighbors, each October the festival provides a way to come together as a community and enjoy the sublime nature of the valley in which we live. Yet, with all of this fan-fair, one group within the community has been ominously missing.

Though many people come out for the opportunity to enjoy some of the best chili New Martinsville has to offer, not many restaurants have taken this opening to share with the people of Wetzel County the fare available to their patrons. The depth and range of entries each year has grown to encompass a wide variety samplings, from steaming bowls of viscous brothy soups to thick hearty stews laden with tender chunks of succulent meat. However, though these entries may represent the best of what is available from the novices who inhabit the area, missing are the creations available from professional restaurateurs.

This year, the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce hopes to begin to rectify this deficiency by offering a new category specifically for restaurants. For the first time in Chili-Fest history, restaurants will have a chance to enter the contest and compete for the title of best chili in the New Martinsville area. All area restaurants are welcome to enter, regardless of whether chili is a staple of their menu or if they have never served chili before. One restaurant in the valley is going to become the place to go for a bowl of everyone’s favorite comfort food.

To encourage participation, the Chamber has expanded the entry options this year. Anyone, including restaurant owners, who wants to set up a booth and be part of the event can come down to Main Street on Oct. 25 and share their creations with the people. However, for those who don’t have the time to man a booth on the day of the event, the “one bowl” entry is returning for a second year. Those who wish to participate in this category have only to register and show up with enough chili for the judges to get a good sampling on the day of the Chili-Fest.

To enter this year’s Chili-Fest, stop by the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce office on Main Street or call (304) 455-3825. The number of spaces for booths to set up is limited and entries are being taken on a first come first serve basis. If you own a restaurant in the greater New Martinsville area, this is a great way to show your patrons that you are a valued member of the community and whether you serve chili now and want everyone to know it’s the best, or want to start offering chili at your place, the Chili-Fest is a great way to make yourself know. If you’ve already been telling everyone you have the best chili in town, make it official with the Chamber of Commerce seal and a plaque letting everyone know you are indeed the best.

Almost everyone has a favorite place to go out and grab a bite to eat. You know the menu by heart. You know all the servers’ names. When you come in the door, someone there will greet you by your first name because you’re not just a customer, you’re a friend. Does that place have great chili? Wouldn’t you like to share that with the rest of the valley?

Make sure the next time you stop in, ask them if they are part of the Chili-Fest, and if they haven’t entered yet, have them call the Chamber of Commerce and enter before it’s too late.