Things To Do

Delray Beach GreenMarket's 16th Annual Chili Cook-Off Is Saturday

Finally, a contest where bribing the judges is encouraged - and you get to be a judge.

For over a decade and a half, the Delray Beach GreenMarket has hosted a Chili Cook-Off and it returns to Old School Square Park for its sweet sixteen this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon. Lori Nolan, with the Delray Beach CRA, has been organizing the Chili Cook-Off for 14 of those years.


"The Cook-Off is an annual GreenMarket event that piggy backs on the GreenMarket - an event with an event. Attendees can expect a really good time tasting the free chili, talking, and laughing with the contestants and listening to Heidi and the El Cat's sing the blues.  They are a great local blues band that always plays at the Cook-Off."

There are - or were - three categories, traditional, vegetarian, and new-age.

"I canceled the third category -- vegetarian -- because no one entered it this year. It's a tough category to fill. New-age chili is anything besides beef and beans. It's chicken chili, pork, turkey, ostrich, seafood, etc.  A most interesting category," says Nolan.

Though the entry deadline has technically passed, if she can get three meatless entries by Wednesday (when she has to print the ballots) she'll reinstate the vegetarian category.

"I currently have 15 entries for Saturday. Each person brings five gallons of chili and hands out two ounce samples.  They can also bribe the people voting which makes for fun. One guy gives away red wine in little cups and a local DJ gives out his CD's. The Carolina Ale House will be giving away free drink coupons."

In addition to the People's Choice awards - for which you can be bribed - there will also be three professional chef judges who will choose first, second, and third place winners. The winners will receive trophies and bragging rights. 

"A lot of the same characters enter every year because they want to out-do each other and enjoy the camaraderie," says Nolan.

Admission to the Delray Beach GreenMarket - which runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. - as well as to the 16th-annual Chili Cook-Off is free. The tastings take place from 10 a.m. to noon, when the People's Choice ballots will be tallied and the judges will reconnoiter. The awards will be given out at 12:30 p.m. 

Old School Square Park is located at 51 N. Swinton Ave. in downtown Delray Beach. To squeeze in a last minute vegetarian entry, download the entry form. Entry is $10.

For more information, email [email protected], or call 561-276-7511.



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Rebecca McBane is the arts and culture/food editor for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. She began her journalism career at the Sun Sentinel's community newspaper offshoot, Forum Publishing Group, where she worked as the editorial assistant and wrote monthly features as well as the weekly library and literature column, "Shelf Life." After a brief stint bumming around London's East End (for no conceivable reason, according to her poor mother), she returned to real life and South Florida to start at New Times as the editorial assistant in 2009. A native Floridian, Rebecca avoids the sun and beach at all costs and can most often be found in a well-air-conditioned space with the glow of a laptop on her face.
Contact: Rebecca McBane