Dig in! Chilifest returns to Middlebury this Saturday

MIDDLEBURY — This Saturday, March 14, downtown Middlebury will welcome thousands of visitors to its closed-off downtown streets for the 7th Annual Vermont Chili Festival. This very popular event, staged by the Better Middlebury Partnership, will feature live music, an all-local beverage tent, street performers and more than 50 kinds of chili from some of Vermont’s best restaurants to sample and enjoy.
The fun starts at 1 p.m. and sampling will continue through 4 p.m.
Downtown Middlebury will be brimming with chili from more than 40 different restaurants, caterers and amateurs from around the region. A panel of guest judges will vote on flavor, texture and aroma to name the best chili in each category: Beef, Chicken, Pork, Game, Veggie and “Kitchen Sink.”
The panel of judges will also determine the best-of-the-best overall winner and runners up, and festival-goers will have an opportunity to vote for their top choice, resulting in a “Crowd Favorite” award at the end of the event. This year’s chili contest winners will be recognized at the conclusion of the event in the beverage tent and awarded cash prizes, including $1,000 to the overall winner.
Guest judges for the 2015 Vermont Chili Festival will be:
•Chef Bill Snell of Tourterelle restaurant in New Haven.
•Erin McCormick of the blog “Travel Like a Local: VT.”
•Andrea Todd, a food-to-table cook from the area.
•Chef Robert Barral of Café Provence restaurant in Brandon.
•Sally Pollak, Burlington Free Press food writer.
•Lisa Gosselin, former editorial director/editor in chief at Eating Well magazine and current commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development.
•Alice Levitt, food writer at Seven Days and coauthor of the upcoming “Vermont, An Explorer’s Guide.”
Buttons for unlimited samples of chili will be available at the event and on the website at vtchilifest.com. Buttons are $5 in advance and $7 on the day of the festival. Hot chocolate and cider will be sold in the Cocoa Cabana and free bottles of water will be available from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont. Radio stations 99.9 the Buzz and 98.9 WOKO will be on site and playing music throughout the event and The Grift will be playing live in the beverage tent beginning at 5 p.m.
The 7th Annual Vermont Chili Festival is sponsored by Hall Communications, Farrell Distributing, Drop-In Brewery, WhistlePig, Vermont Hard Cider, IPJ Real Estate and Two Brothers Tavern, and received community support from ACTR, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, Denecker Chevrolet, Engelberth Construction, Foley Distributing, Reinhart Food Service and Sunrise Orchards.
A portion of the proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the Better Middlebury Partnership and the Vermont Foodbank. Visit experiencemiddlebury.com to learn more about this event and other Experience  Middlebury events throughout the year

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