A fourteen year old tradition warmed the bodies and stomachs of people in the North Country. An annual cook-off at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown was serving people hot chili...on a chilly day. Y-N-N's Carmella Mataloni has the story.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Hot chili, chicken chili, white chili, meat lover’s chili, you name it and it was probably found at this year's Chili Cook-Off.
"It's just fun, you know, it's great cause it raises money for the Volunteer Transportation Center and we just like having something to do in the winter," said Patti Shaughnessy, who was a part of the Irish Festival Team.
The event is hosted by Jefferson County American Legion Auxiliary and Legion Family. Those who organized the cook-off say it’s an event that just keeps growing.
"It's more than doubled. We have between 2,500 to 3,000 people each year," said Chili Cook-Off Chairwoman Shelia Barney-Pullus.
With more than 30 different stands to choose from, people got to sample what each chef had to offer, then cast their vote for their favorite one.
There are many different categories in the Chili Cook-Off, like amateur, people's choice and judge’s choice. Last year, Samaritan Heat won the judge’s choice and they say their recipe is back this year, bigger and better than the last and it's good!
"I modified our chili recipe this year a little bit to change it up because we want to win again this year. But you know it's all for a great cause," said Alex Beer, Samaritan Heat Team.
And as if indulging in all the chili you can eat wasn't enough fun, there was also entertainment, everything from balloon making to hoop dancers.
"It's good for the community to get involved with each other and taste different chili," said Watertown resident Sandy Hill.
The chef's who participate say the amount of planning that goes into the competition is overwhelming, it's something they look forward to every year.