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Get Your Crockpots Ready… It’s Chili Cook-off Season!

By: Toni Cunningham | October 15, 2012
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Ahh, fall. Crunchy leaves, crisp air, cozy sweaters and apple cider—these are a few of my favorite things. When hunger strikes and my trusty fuzzy sweater still leaves me chilled to the bone, my favorite way to warm up on a cool, autumn day comes in the form of food. Chili, that is. Delicious spicy stew, chock full of beef and tasty vegetables. Sounds good, right?

Whoever had the wherewithal to invent the concept of the chili cook-off deserves a gold medal in my book. Luckily, the Metro Detroit area is hosting numerous chili cook-offs this fall, so you can get your fix on several different occasions.

The local chili cook-offs commence with Wigs 4 Kids’ 2nd Annual Chili Cook-off on Sunday, October 7. Wigs 4 Kids is a wonderful organization that provides custom cut and styled wigs at no cost to children. The organization mainly supports children with cancer, and is funded solely on contributions and donations.

Wigs 4 Kids’ chili cook-off allows participants to “cook 4 a cause” and support the organization. Contestants can enter their chili recipe in the cook-off for a $10 entry fee that will benefit Wigs 4 Kids. Prizes will be raffled off including a $1,000 golf package and a spa package, and will also benefit the organization.

Wigs 4 Kids’ chili cook-off is an excellent way to support a great organization. Make it a family affair and vote for your favorite chef at the event in St. Clair Shores from noon to 4 p.m.!

If you’re located elsewhere, Downtown Garden City’s 5th Annual Chili Cook-off/Car Show will be held on Saturday, October 13. In addition to delicious chili, the event will feature a hot dog cart, a beer tent, a bake sale (with donuts!), live music, acrobats and local merchants.

Food, beer, and live demonstrations—what more could you ask for? If you’re a parent, you’re probably hoping to keep the kiddies occupied as well. They’ll stay entertained too, with pony rides, face painting, crafts, a petting zoo and wagon rides.

Garden City’s Chili Cook-off begins at 11 a.m. at the Farmers Market lot at the Town Center shopping center, so get there before it shuts down at 6 p.m.

Downtown Plymouth will host the 17th Annual Great Lakes Regional Chili Cook-off on Sunday, October 14. There will be over 15 local restaurants dishing up their specialty chili dishes, and I for one will gladly take part in the sampling.

Cook-off patrons can purchase a bowl of chili for $4 or a 2 oz. sample for $1. If I were you, I’d go for the full bowl. Not only because you’ll get a delicious, filling meal out of it, but mostly because your $4 will be donated to charity. Among the causes supported by the chili cook-off are Make a Wish Foundation, The Rainbow Connection, Plymouth Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and more. What’s better than helping a good cause?

Vendor food booths will open at 11 a.m. and remain opened until 5 p.m. That’s six quality hours of chili devouring time! Make sure you get there by 2 p.m. for the hottest dog contest as well.

If you just can’t get enough of these cook-offs during the month of October, never fear. Royal Oak’s 3rd Annual Chili Cook-off will take place on Saturday, November 10 at the Royal Oak Farmers Market.

Royal Oak’s cook-off will feature dishes from local restaurants, community groups and more. Proceeds will benefit charities including the Boys and Girls Club of South Oakland County and the Royal Oak Animal Shelter. The event lasts from 5 to 9 p.m., so you’ll have to spoon that chili quickly if you’re aiming to sample them all.

All of the aforementioned cook-offs are coming up quickly, so mark your calendars and get your taste buds (and spoons) ready to dig in!

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