When the temperatures start to get chilly, it means it’s time to eat chili. This year will be the 13th year the City of Richmond Hill has invited the community to J.F. Gregory Park to eat all the chili it can. The Richmond Hill Chili Cook-Off will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5.
Judges will decide who has the best chili in town. The grand-prize winner for best chili will receive a trophy and $350; first runner-up will receive a trophy and $200. Second runner-up will receive a trophy and $100, and third runner-up will receive a trophy and $50.
Trophies also will be given for people’s choice on best chili and best booth design. The voting box for the people’s choice awards will be open from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the center table under the pavilion. Participants are asked to vote only once.
Because this event has grown so much, this year it has its own planning committee.
“This is the first year there are two separate committees for the Chili Cook-Off and the Christmas Parade,” Chili Chief Jennifer Sowell said. “There used to be one committee that put on both productions, but it was decided that it would be divided into two different committees starting this year because the events have become so large.
“Last year, we had a couple thousand people come to the event, and we hope to have more this year,” Sowell continued. “We start planning the event around late September or the beginning of October every year.”
Chili vendors are asked to make a minimum of seven gallons of chili to serve, and this year the event will have more than 10 chili vendors. In years past, vendors have sold out of their chili.
“We have a mix of regular people and restaurant people who make chili,” said Sowell, who has been working on the Chili Cook-Off committee since 2011. “This time, we have very few restaurants signed up, and mostly regular people making chili to fundraise for the groups they represent.”
This event is free to the public, and each vendor sets their prices for a sample bowl of chili, usually ranging from $1-$2.
The winners for the Chili Cook-Off will be announced on stage at 8 p.m. Last year’s winner for best chili was Team Chili Bomb.
“The best reason to come to the Chili Cook-Off is that there’s something for everyone,” Sowell said. “There’s great food, arts and crafts, live entertainment and activities for the kids. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.”
During the event, crafts and other food booths will be set up. There also will be children’s activities such as hayrides, face painting and bouncy houses, which all will be free.
For more information, go to http://www.richmondhill-ga.gov/index.aspx?NID=295.