WHEELING - Spicy chili and loads of fun will be bubbling on the front burner June 1 when the 12th Annual Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff opens at noon at Wheeling's Heritage Port. The event is sanctioned by the International Chili Society, with all proceeds once again going to the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley.
Chili cooks in the new ICS Homestyle category and Commercial Division are eligible for cash prizes, as are the winners in the Red, Verde, Salsa and Homestyle categories. The top winners in the Red, Verde, Salsa and Homestyle categories each will be eligible to compete in the 2013 ICS World Cookoff Oct. 11-13 in Palm Springs, Calif. The winners also will qualify for the 2013 World food Championships in Las Vegas, hosted by the Travel Channel's Adam Richman.
The Homestyle Chili category allows cooks to stretch their creativity, which means anything goes for ingredients, as long as there are chili spices and peppers included. This new category opens competition to vegetarian and vegan cooks, and those who like to add beans, pasta, potatoes, rice, or other similar ingredients to their chili.
Cruising into the 12th Annual Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff site at Wheeling’s Heritage Port is this group of some of the planners, sponsors and participants. Sitting in a classic 1948 MG TC-3 is “Head Chili” Brian Warmuth, award-winning chili cook, and Rose Humway-Warmuth, City of Wheeling, Cookoff Chair. Joining them are, from left, Justin Droginske of Ye Olde Alpha; Olivia Litman of the Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau; Nate Fluharty, WTRF-TV7, sponsor; Allison O’Konski, City of Wheeling, sponsor; Brad Blair, Chase Bank, sponsor; George Smoulder, executive director, United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley; Erin Carenbauer, Carenbauer Distributing, sponsor; Chef Harry Edge, Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino & Racetrack; Chef James Burress of Cafe Burress; Caroline Pierpoint, Chase Bank; Jennifer Burress, Cafe Burress.
Rose Humway-Warmuth, cookoff chair, said the Commercial Cooks category is open to all comers, as well. The chili can be made in advance.
"Businesses, clubs, even groups of friends can enter as Commercial Cooks and have a great time serving up chili," Humway-Warmuth said.
Commercial Cooks can sell menu items other than chili and may distribute menus and other giveaways or coupons. They may also promote their businesses or groups any way they like, Humway-Warmuth said.
Commercial Cooks can win cash prizes from judging for First Place to Honorable Mention. The public will vote also for the People's Choice winner, who is chosen by the number of chili sample tickets collected during the day. A prize also will be awarded for Showmanship/Best Booth Decoration.
Not only will there be delicious chili on hand, but also toe-tapping entertainment with Steel Cassa and Deja' Vu.
Area classic car and hot rod enthusiasts can show off their prized rides during the Cruise-In throughout the day.
Sponsors for the event are The City of Wheeling, Carenbauer Distributing, WTRF-TV7, and JP MorganChase.
For information on entering the cookoff, please contact Humway-Warmuth or Allison O'Konski at 304-234-3617 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.