ITHACA, N.Y. — It may not feel like chili weather with unseasonably warm temperatures to start the week, but by Saturday for Ithaca’s 21st Annual Chili Cook-off, the weather will be back to its chilly normal.
More than 40 restaurants are set to take part in the annual chili showdown held from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9 on the Ithaca Commons. There will be chili samples for everyone, as restaurants compete for the titles of best meat chili, best vegetarian/vegan and people’s choice. And don’t forget the cornbread from Cornbread for Kids. They will be in front of Center Ithaca selling cornbread wedges for $1. Proceeds support the Fresh Snack Program. Over the past nine years, they have raised over $12,500 to fight childhood hunger, according to the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.
In addition to the chili samples, there will be a farmers market with vendors, and samples from local wineries and breweries.
The best mustache and beard in Ithaca will also be determined with the annual Chili ‘Stache and Beard Competition hosted by the Ithaca Beard and Mustache Club. The contests will take place at Bank Alley on the Ithaca Commons at 3 p.m., across from the beer tent.
The weather will be back below freezing and some snow may be on the ground again by the chili cook-off. For Saturday, the National Weather Service is predicting it will be about 26 degrees with scattered flurries. Perfect weather for enjoying some hot chili.
Presale tickets are already available at the Downtown Visitors Center, 171 E. State St., at Collegetown Bagels on North Aurora Street and 415 College Ave. Note for presale tickets, they are accepting cash only. Tickets are five for $5 or 10 for $10. The tickets are good for a sample of wine, beer, or food.
VIP tickets, which give people access to a separate, fast-moving line for tastes, are also available again. For $20, you get 10 tickets (and a chili necklace).