Where can you go to taste 40-some types of chili, enjoy beverages and dessert, and listen to music, all for $8? Only one place – Chili Wars IV, a benefit for St. Clair Shores Cops for Kids, which each year provides Christmas presents, financial support and other benefits for area children.
The event, which is at Lakeland Banquet & Event Center in St. Clair Shores on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m., drew between 600 and 700 people last year, and continues to grow, said Joe Evangelista, who organizes the annual event with Paul Palazzolo.
The chili cook-off has brought in thousands for St. Clair Shores Cops for Kids, and is poised to raise $3,000 to $5,000 this year, Evangelista said.
“You’d be amazed at the range of chilis,” Evangelista said. “It’s not like you’re getting chili out of a can.”
There are white-bean chilis, red-bean chilis, chicken chilis and even a walleye chili, courtesy of the local Walleye Association. In fact, the range of chilis entered in the contest has led Chili Wars to include award categories like “best wild game chili.”
And the chili tasting is only part of the show. Presentation counts too, as there are awards for the most creative serving area – one year, the Veterans organization set up a table to look like a military bunker, Evangelista said – the most entertaining team and the best dressed team.
“One of the funniest things is the trash-talking that goes on,” Evangelista said of the organizations and restaurants that enter each year. “It’s not a very serious event,” he added. “It’s more fun.”
Participants this year include Famous Dave’s, G. Willies Bar & Grill and Shores Inn, which has made the winning chili the last two years running. Civic organizations like the local firefighters and Veterans organizations, and individual chili-makers, also get involved.
This fourth-annual event promises good food and a good time, and it’s for a great cause. There’s a cash bar, a DJ and local celebrities who judge this fun contest.
For more information about Chili Wars or to enter the contest, visit www.chiliwars.com.