NEWBERRY — It’s time once again for The City of Newberry’s annual Chili Cook-Off this Saturday from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in Memorial Park in downtown Newberry. This year there are 10 teams competing for the grand prize.
“We’ll be doing aerobics, we’ll have a couple of booths out there for a health fair. Free water will be given away by All South Bank. The YMCA will be one of our healthcare groups that will be out there and we’ll also be doing the Blood Drive with the Blood Connection again, we’ve been doing that for the past three years,” said Mary Alex Kopp, Events and Tourism coordinator.
The Blood Drive will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
“Something that we are offering for those who do the Blood Drive is if you do the Blood Drive, and you show us your paperwork you have to fill out, then you will get your chili samples for free,” Kopp said.
It costs only five dollars for a sample of each competitors chili and with the 10 samples you will get a voting ticket significant to each category the prizes will be given include Best All Around, Most Original Chili and Best Booth Decoration.
“This event is smaller than some of the other City events that we do, but it’s more of a community-focused, small town style event to come out to and see what your neighbors and local businesses are doing to compete, it’s one of my favorites,” Kopp said.
She added that this year’s Chili Cook-Off is welcoming some new faces as well as returning competitors, including Bear Arms Crossfit, Carolina West Clinic of Chiropractic, Joy Ride LLC, Miss Newberry and Miss Newberry Outstanding Teen and Bunsie’s Boys (Carolina Gardens of Lexington).
Returning this year are Life’s Recipe’s (Deborah Hartness), Martin Street Beer Parlor, Two Beans in a Pot, Anytime Fitness and Chili Bob’s.
“You don’t have to have meat in your chili, you can always do vegetarian if you want, but if they do use meat we require that the meat has to be at least 90 percent lean,” Kopp said.
There also has to be at least two variety of beans, and four different kinds of vegetables.
“They cannot use any kind of spice packet, commercial chili mix or canned chili. We don’t want you showing up and just basically buying three ingredients from the grocery store, a spice packet and canned chili saying you made chili. That, in our opinion, is not made from scratch and usually those spice packets that you buy in the store have a lot more sodium in them, so that’s one of our other health-focused factors there. We want people to use the freshest ingredients available and that they are doing it from scratch,” Kopp said.
Competitors are also required to make 16 quarts of chili, the equivalent of two crock pots to withstand the crowds coming to participate.
“Our requirements are fairly minimal because we want our competitors to show us what they think healthy chili can be or should look like and what their interpretation of that is. By not putting too many requirements we are seeing them be much more creative,” Kopp said.
The voting for the winner is done by People’s Choice for Best All Around, Most Original Chili and Best Booth Decoration. The winner of Best Booth Decoration will receive a trophy and $25 cash prize and Most Original Chili winner will receive a trophy and $25 cash prize. Third place Overall will receive a trophy and $50 cash prize, second place will receive a trophy and $75 cash price and first place will receive a trophy and $100 cash prize.
The money raised during the Chili Cook-Off will go to the Souper Bowl of Caring, which Kopp said will turn around and be given to a local food bank, this year’s proceeds are going to Zion United Methodist Church’s food pantry.
The Newberry Arts Center will also be participating in the Chili Cook-Off selling pottery bowls for the Empty Bowls Project, with proceeds also going to the local food bank.
Kopp said that the section between Memorial Park and Community Hall will be blocked off for aerobics demonstrations, along with 45 minute demonstrations from Anytime Fitness and 45 minute demonstrations from Bear Arms Crossfit.
“We will be blocking the bus parking space that is on Nance Street behind Memorial Park because that’s where the Blood Connection bus will be parked,” she said. “We tell people to dress warmly, but to any of our people participating in the Blood Drive we remind them that they do need to eat something heavy before they come and do that blood donation.”
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.