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Summer Heats Up with Chili Cook-Off

Now that it’s the hottest time of the year, what could be more sane than to charge out to Brewers Beach at noon to spend the afternoon consuming, you guessed it, massive amounts of spicy hot chili? The Texas Society of the Virgin Islands holds its 28th annual Chili Cook-Off on Sunday.

The huge beach party may not be for everyone – but there’s at least 4,500 or so Chili-heads who wouldn’t miss the party for all the beans in Texas. Sanity be damned; this is serious fun.

Last year, in fact, 70 cooks braved the forces of Hurricane Irene to carry on the tradition. Despite the rain, there In 2011, 70 cooks braved Hurricane Irene forces to carry on the tradition.were cooks yelling out for people to come try their chili, dancing on the beach, drinking and socializing with friends until they had to pack up their tents about 3 p.m., but they still collected a good amount of donations for the Queen Louis Home for the Aged, V.I. Institute of Performing Arts, St. Thomas Search and Rescue, Dial-A-Ride and the Family Resource Center.

And that’s what it’s all about: Helping others while having an afternoon of fun, food, live music, games for kids and contests not only for the best chili, but for the highly coveted showmanship prize.

New for this year’s cook-off is the addition of a locals-only competition, said Cook-Off stalwart Lori Abbotts. She said more than 5,000 attendees and more than 50 cooks are expected to participate this year.

Trophies and Chili Appreciation Society International points will be awarded to the top 10 cooks in the CASI competition. For the local competition, the top 10 chili cooks, top three vegetarian chili cooks, and top three large and small showmanship teams will be awarded a trophy and prizes donated by local businesses. All donated gifts will go to local cooks.

One Virgin Islands winner will be sent to represent the Virgin Pod at the national cook-off in Terlingua, Texas, courtesy of American Airlines.

A $35 entry fee per cook includes entry in both competitions, a 10-by-10-foot spot on the beach, a case of Coors Light, a case of water, 10 pounds of free meat to cook at the event donated by Merchant’s Market, an event T-shirt and tasting supplies.

Raffle tickets for larger prizes can be purchased prior to the event (winners do not have to be present to win). Abbotts asks that guests don’t bring coolers to this fundraiser. There will be lots of beer and soft drinks for sale. Convenient parking in the Reichhold Center lot will be available for a nominal donation.

Abbotts said this week that volunteers are still needed throughout the day, including bar attendants and T-shirt and ticket sales. Call her at 474-0019 or email Lori@lookingglass.com for event and registration information.

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