ITHACA, N.Y. –– Thousands will flock to downtown Ithaca on Saturday, Feb. 8 to enjoy chili from local restaurants and businesses.

The 22nd annual Downtown Ithaca Alliance Chili Cook-off will feature over 40 chilis from more than 30 vendors, and will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Commons.

Last year’s winners Ithaca Beer Co., Simeon’s, McCormick’s at Moakley House (Cornell Dining) and Moosewood will be in attendance at the competition, having won awards for People’s Choice Best Chili, Best Presentation, Best Meat Chili and Best Vegetarian/Vegan Chili respectively.

New to the competition this year is The Strand Cafe, Ithaca Social Pub & Grille, and The Bistro at La Tourelle.

There will be various non-chili food items for sale as well, including baked goods, sweets and cornbread. Beer and wine selections will also be available from local breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries.

“We look forward to Chili Cook-Off every year. It’s the perfect opportunity for people to get out of their winter slumber to enjoy some delicious chilis, farm-fresh goodies, and regionally produced ciders, wines, and brews,”  says Scott Rougeau, special events director for the DIA and the event’s organizer.

The Ithaca Beard & Mustache Club is hosting its annual competition during the cook-off. WVBR will also be broadcasting from the Bernie Milton Pavilion.

There are a few additions to the festival this year, including a new ‘chili-inspired’ award for participants favorite non-chili food items. Also new, during the cook-off the DIA will be hosting a pair of drawings for prizes –– one to win a free Chili Cook-Off Package that includes free chili tastings at all of the stations at the 23rd Annual Chili Cook-off in 2021 and the title of Most Valuable Pepper and/or win a gift basket full of goodies from many downtown shops and businesses. Participants can enter the raffles with a purchase of a cook-off ticket.

Tickets are $10 for 10 tastes of food, cider, wine, and beer. VIP tickets are also available and grant you access to a separate and fast-moving line for tastes, plus a chili necklace featuring a decorative pepper (while supplies last). VIP tickets cost $20 for 10 tastes and $40 for 20 tastes.

Presale tickets for the event are on sale at the Downtown Visitors Center and at the Downtown Ithaca office, 171 East State St., Ithaca. For people attending from out of town or in need tickets for a large group, tickets can be reserved online at and picked up at the Visitors Center on the day of the event. You can also call the Downtown Ithaca Alliance at (607) 277-8679.

Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the event at the event.

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

For additional event information about Chili Cook-Off and its activities, visit or our Facebook Events Page.

Photo courtesy of the DIA. 

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at