Chili Festival returns to Middlebury this Saturday

MIDDLEBURY — The Better Middlebury Partnership announces the fifth annual Vermont Chili Festival, taking place on Saturday, March 9, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Named one of the Top 10 Winter Events for the past four years by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the event includes street jugglers, face painting, entertainment for kids, live music, a beverage tent, and award-winning chili, all located on the streets of historic downtown Middlebury.
Over 5,000 people attended last year’s festivities with even more expected to turn out this year for the headlining event: a chili contest, taking place on the closed-off Main Street. The downtown will be overflowing with chili from over 50 restaurants, caterers and amateurs from around the state. The public will pick their three favorite chilies, and winners will be announced in the following categories: Best Beef Chili, Best Chicken Chili, Best Pork Chili, Best Game Chili, Best Veggie Chili, a best “Kitchen Sink” category, and Best Overall Chili.
This year’s chili contest winners will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. New this year are and cash awards. Last year’s winners included Bluebird Tavern,Breadloaf View Farm, Leunig’s, Middlebury Volunteer Fire Department, Addison Central Teens and Swift House Inn — Jessica’s Restaurant.
Passes for unlimited samples of chili will be available at the event and on the website at www.vtchilifest.com. Passes are $5 for adults; kids 8 and under are free. Vermont Chili Festival T-shirts will be on sale at the event for $12, and water will also be sold for $1 per bottle.
A portion of the proceeds from this year’s event will benefit H.O.P.E. (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects) and CVOEO (Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity).
The festivities include music on the upper and lower parts of Main Street; face painting; The Flying Fists, a Middlebury College street performance group; a beverage tent; and a few surprises. The Grift, a local band, will play from 5-8 p.m. in the beverage tent.
The Middlebury Fire Department will have a firetruck on display and the Middlebury Police Department will have a police cruiser on display from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Kids will be allowed to explore both.
Also, anyone who spends $20 or more anywhere in town on March 8 or 9 will get one free entry into the chili raffle for a chance to win an iPad or $500 in Middlebury Money, just by bringing the receipt to one of the raffle tables. Special deals will be available throughout Middlebury from participating merchants.
The fifth annual Vermont Chili Festival is sponsored by numerous businesses and the BMP’s sustaining members. It is made possible by the Better Middlebury Partnership and the Town of Middlebury.
Event details can be found at the Vermont Chili Festival’s website; www.vtchilifest.com.

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