Chili cookoff looks to stir new contestants

PARKERSBURG – Organizers are looking for more chili chefs who want to share their favorite recipe to join the third annual Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cookoff in October.

“Teams and individuals are slowly signing up,” said Jill Parsons, CEO and president of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley. “We currently have about 15 entries but would love to have 25 or more.”

Parsons said each of the chilis is different and in the past two years the event has seen white, chicken, vegetarian and mild and spicy versions of the stew.

“It is always great to see the different kinds of chili and watch everyone enjoy it,” she added.

Parsons said the event was something different for the chamber to do and has been well received by the community. About 15 chili cooks and nearly 300 tasters attended each of the previous events and she hopes to see both areas increase this year.

The competition fee is $25 if the team supplies their own tent or $50 if the event supplies the tent. The fee includes two admission tickets.

Entrants are encouraged to prepare at least four gallons of chili, Parsons said.

“The more chili people make, the more people will be able to sample and vote for your recipe,” she said.

The categories this year include the Peoples Choice and Judges’ panel as well as the new Spirit Award and a special Mayors Competition. There is a $250 first place prize for both the Peoples Choice and Judges’ panel winners.

“Right now, we have mayors from Parkersburg, Vienna, Williamstown, Marietta, Belpre and North Hills signed up to make and bring their own chili,” Parsons said. “(Marietta Mayor Joe) Matthews, with his background as a firefighter, has already thrown down the gauntlet and saying the other mayors have a lot of work to do.”

The event is organized by the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley and the Jaycees.

Advance tickets are $10 for chamber members and $12 for the public and will be $15 at the door for everyone. Ticket holders will have the chance to sample all entries and will receive a commemorative mug.

Admission includes entry to the event, an opportunity to try all chili samples and a commemorative beer mug. Beverage purchases will not be included with the ticket.

The cookoff will also include live entertainment by Hit Parade with beer and non alcoholic beverages available for purchase. For more information, contact the chamber at 304-422-3588.

Tickets are available from chamber members, with a list of locations to be available online at