Say­brook Chili Fes­ti­val Heats up the Sea­son

The Day - Sound & Country - - FRONT PAGE -

If chili is more your style, check out the Chili Fes­ti­val in Old Say­brook March 5. The Old Say­brook Cham­ber of Com­merce hosts the pop­u­lar event, with 30 to 35 spicy and sa­vory chili choices.

The fes­ti­val funds the cham­ber’s schol­ar­ship pro­gram. A bal­lot costs $5 to taste all the chili and vote for your fa­vorite.

Judy Sul­li­van, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Old Say­brook Cham­ber of Com­merce, said peo­ple get into the spirit of the event by do­ing things like wear­ing som­breros.

The top three chili win­ners get prizes and a mon­e­tary do­na­tion to the char­ity of their choice. There’s also an hon­or­able men­tion for fourth place. She said the top prize also wins a cov­eted paper-mache chili pep­per.

Stores host dif­fer­ent restau­rants, some with corn­bread, oth­ers with chips. The event, from noon to 3 p.m., is on Main Street and or­ga­niz­ers hope it will go down Route 1 this year as well.

Su­san Esty, chair­per­son of the event and owner of Esty’s LLC, said the fes­ti­val gets larger ev­ery year.

“This has be­come a pop­u­lar event, a lot of fam­i­lies come,” she said. “There is quite the ri­valry be­tween the chefs and their fans, peo­ple sup­port their fa­vorite with T-shirts and signs.”

The cham­ber, she added, pro­vides schol­ar­ships not only for high school stu­dents, but also for adults who want to fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion, ei­ther with spe­cific train­ing cour­ses or re­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“It’s im­por­tant to me, es­pe­cially in to­day’s tough times, that we sup­port busi­nesses in this way as well,” she said.

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