2017 Chili Cook-Off poster, provided by DIA

The following is a republished press release from the Downtown Ithaca Alliance and NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements directly to The Voice, email tips@ithacavoice.com.

Correction: This republished press release originally stated that last year’s winners were Moosewood Restaurant, Mahogany Grill and Luna Inspired Street Food. Ithaca Ale House was not included in the press release; they won the Best Meat/Overall Chili category and are returning participants this year. Moosewood Restaurant won Best Vegetarian, Luna Inspired Street Food won People’s Choice and Mahogany Grill won the Best Presentation category.

Get your taste buds ready to experience some flavorful concoctions on Saturday, February 11 — it’s time for Downtown Ithaca’s 19th Annual Chili Cook-Off!

Tompkins Trust Company presents this cherished community tradition, which is set from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on The Ithaca Commons, 171 E. State St. The Cook-Off features dozens of freshly made sweet, spicy, and/or tangy chili samples that are masterfully created by the some of the area’s best chefs. They will be competing for coveted prizes (Best Meat/Overall Chili, Best Vegetarian, and People’s Choice Chili awards). Meat, vegan and gluten-free options will be available.

Event visitors can help to name a chili People’s Choice champion by sampling chili throughout the day and voting for their favorite chili. Winners for the jury contest will be announced on the main stage at 3:45 p.m. and the People’s Choice honorees will be announced at a later day.

Among the newcomers looking to win the famed Chili trophy is Monks on the Commons, Ithaca’s latest dining attraction located in the Marriott on The Commons, which will be serving a Southern-flavored short rib, pork and black bean chili with Life So Sweet Chocolate’s chocolate-dipped pork belly.

Another rookie competitor, local catering company Bickering Twins, will be serving braised beef with black beans and vegetable chili, while a third newcomer Lucky Hare Chili, a Hector N.Y. based craft beer brewery, will offer its signature Beer Chili. Additional first-time Cook-Off contestants are Due Amici Ristorante, downtown’s newest Mediterranean restaurant; Ithaca Soy/Pure Food Mind and Body, a local catering company; Mix Tapas Kitchen and Bar; and community groups C.A.S.H, Ithaca Elks Lodge 636 and Cornell University’s Chi Phi Fraternity.

Last year’s first place chili winners Moosewood Restaurant, Mahogany Grill and Luna Inspired Street Food are returning along with downtown’s other dining favorites Collegetown Bagel, Ithaca Bakery, Bandwagon Brewery, Just a Taste Wine and Tapas Bar, Gateway Kitchen, Viva Taqueria & Cantina, Coltivare Culinary Center, Kilpatrick’s Publick House, Agava Restaurant, The Center Cafe, D.P. Dough, and Greenstar will also be participating in the Cook-Off as will city establishments Rulloff’s Restaurant, Ithaca Beer Co., Cayuga Medical Center, Statler Hotel, and Franziska Racker Centers will be participating in the Cook-Off.

This event also includes miscellaneous chili items, such as Due Amici’s Chili garlic knots and chili beans with Moroccan Harissa Hot Sauce, local microbrews and wine (Don’t forget your ID!), farm-fresh goods, karaoke, a beard and mustache competition, and free face painting, games, and indoor roller skating in the Tompkins Trust Family Fun Zone (inside Center Ithaca). Come visit the Ithaca League of Women Rollers who will be there all day!

Grist Iron Brewing, the Finger Lakes Region’s newest craft brewery and restaurant pub, and Rooster First Brewing, a Watkins Glen-based brewery, are among the list of eight beverage establishments that will provide beverage tastings throughout the event.

Chili Idol Karaoke presented by Elephant Sound will run throughout the event on Bernie Milton Pavilion stage. Register on the spot to belt out your favorite tune and compete for a trophy and gift cards!

From 3:00 to 3:30 PM, the Ithaca Beard and Moustache Club — a local organization whose mission statement affirms that “with great facial hair comes great responsibility”— will host the 8th annual Chili Stache Competition, which this year will include such categories as Crafty All Ages Chili Stache and Best Full Chili Beard. Check your event map for details.

Finger Lakes School of Massage will be offering free massages from current students from 12 to 4 p.m. in the lobby of the Rothschild Building, 215 E. State St. Stop by to warm up and relax!

Presale tickets are available starting February 1 at the Downtown Visitors Center (171 E. State St.), at two Collegetown Bagels locations (203 N. Aurora St., and 415 College Ave.). If you’re coming in from out of town, you can reserve tickets at will-call with your credit card by calling the Downtown Ithaca Alliance at (607) 277-8679.
As always, you can purchase tickets on the day of the event at the event (cash only.) Tickets are $5 for five tastes of wine, beer, and food, or $10 for 11 tastes. VIP tickets give you access to a separate, fast-moving line for tastes, plus an awesome chili necklace (while supplies last) at 10 Tastes for $20 and 22 Tastes for $40!

Parking will be available on the surrounding streets and in the city’s three parking garages — Seneca, Cayuga and Green Street. The parking garages will be charging a $5 special event fee.

For additional event information visit www.downtownithaca.com, our Facebook Events Page, or call (607) 277-8679.

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.