Wheeling's Annual Chili Cook-off Has Great Turnout for 13th Year
The Annual Chili Cook-off took place at Heritage Port Saturday and is still one of the biggest events of the summer.
Hundreds of people came to Heritage Port in downtown Wheeling today to sample some of the best chilies from all across the United States.
The 13th Annual Wheeling Feeling Chili Cook-off is an event the community and 40-some vendors anxiously await all year. In fact, the chili cook-off has become popular nationwide, with some vendors traveling hours just so people can taste their chili.
"Drove nine hours to get here. Drove four hours to Scranton, Pennsylvania, and then from Scranton to here is another five and a half hours. We wanted to come down here and support the charities and see some friends and have some fun and make some money for the charities," Michael Friedman.
All proceeds from today's event will benefit the United Way. Executive Director of the United Way for the Upper Ohio Valley, George Smoulder, says the United Way is grateful to the City of Wheeling for organizing the event every year and to everyone who participates.
"This is the 13th year that they've had this for us. Over the 13 years this chili cook-off has raised over $80,000. This money goes back to our United Way agencies; There's 29 of those that respond to different needs within our community here," Smoulder said.
There was also a competition aspect to the cook-off. Some chili chefs, such as Jim Pulice, come back year after year to compete. But, even though Jim has several trophies to show off, he says he mostly comes back to benefit the community and the United Way.
"It's good for the community, good organization, and we just like to be out and helping out the community," Pulice said.
The first place chili chef will go on to compete in the national chili cook-off competition.