The Belleville Chili Cook-off features a chili competition, festival food like hot dogs and chicken wings, live music, a children’s area, a “Junior Idol” competition and Chili Chase 5K run. The event takes place 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, and 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in downtown Belleville.
Hosted by the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce, the Belleville Chili Cook-off is a big fundraiser for many area non-profit organizations. Over half of the vendors participating are either a non-profit organization or a business raising money for a charity. All of the money spent at each booth goes to the vendor. Admission is free and food prices vary.
The chili competition starts Friday afternoon. Each vendor brings a sample of their chili to the judging area where judges award first, second and third place ribbons to a “Non Food Service Business/Organization” division or the “Restaurant/Caterer” vendor. Attendees can vote for the People’s Choice Award at each vendor booth — $1 per vote. The money raised for the People’s Choice Award is donated to the Community Interfaith Food Pantry of Belleville. All awards are announced at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Token booths for adult beverages and beer stands are located by the Veterans Memorial fountain and at the intersection of East Main Street and Jackson Street. Tokens are $4 each or 3 for $10 and can be purchased at the token booths. Tokens are only for the beer stands, not for food.
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Here’s the Belleville Chili Cook-off schedule:
Saturday, Oct. 7
▪ 9 a.m. — Chili Chase 5k Run will take place in downtown Belleville at East Main and Church Street. The registration fee is $30 for adults and $5 for children. Packet pickup will take place the morning of the race from 7:15-8:15 a.m.
▪ 11 a.m. — Festival opens.
▪ 11 a.m. — Children’s area opens. Sponsor: Gateway Region YMCA. Location: South Illinois Street
▪ 1 p.m. — “Junior Idol” competition. Sponsor: Eckert’s, Inc. Location: Main Stage. Preliminary auditions were held on Sept. 6. Contestants will be judged on vocal ability, timing, stage presence, mastery of lyrics and overall impression. Finalists from each division will compete for the top prize. The “Junior Idol” judges are: Lisa Adams of the Masterworks Chorale, retired music teacher Felecia Kenney-Brown and Lynn Venhaus, of Venhaus Creative.
▪ 3 p.m. — USAF Band of Mid-America-Starlifter. Location: Main Stage.
▪ 4 p.m. — Children’s area closes.
▪ 5 p.m. — Chili Cook-off awards. Location: Main Stage.
▪ 6 p.m. — Queens Blvd. Sponsor: Sigman Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. Location: Main Stage.
▪ 9:30 p.m. — Souvenir stand and token booths close.
▪ 10 p.m. — Beer stands close.
▪ 10:30 p.m. — Festival closes.
For more information, see the festival website: www.bellevillechili.com.