Smokin’ on the Tygart Chilli Cook-off to heat up Philippi

PHILIPPI – The scent of chili will fill the air in Philippi this weekend as contestants compete in the 17th annual Smokin’ on the Tygart Chili Cook-off.

Annette Fetty-Santilli, one of the Philippi Main Street sponsors and organizers, said more than 10 teams have signed up so far.

The cooks may register from 8-10 a.m. Saturday on the Barbour County Courthouse lawn.

Six judges will taste test the chili, made from the participating teams’ recipes. The public also will have the opportunity to judge the contest by purchasing small plastic taste-testing cups from the Philippi Main Street booth, tasting samples and voting for the people’s choice winners. Chili sampling will begin at 3:15 p.m.

Fetty-Santilli said there will be more activities to enjoy at this year’s event than ever before.

“There is truly something for everybody to do,” Fetty-Santilli said, adding there will be a bounce house and climbing wall. “(The event) brings everybody into Philippi and lets the visitors see the beautiful town and have a chance to fellowship with people.”

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, visitors can participate in the silent auction and the dime pitch events. Participating vehicles in the Cruise-In may register at 11 a.m., with the event lasting until 4 p.m. A cornhole tournament will begin at noon.

Opening ceremonies and the cooks’ parade around the Courthouse lawn will take place at 11:30 a.m.

“My favorite part is the cooks’ parade,” Fetty-Santilli said, “because you get to see how they’re all dressed to go along with their chili name.”

The chili judging will be at 3 p.m., but the contestants are not only judged on their chili recipes, but their dress and booth decor as well. Prizes and awards for the cruise-in and cook-off will be presented at 4:30 p.m.

Chili is not the only spicy food to be on display during the event. At 2 p.m. Saturday, any daring participants who enter will have the chance to set their mouths ablaze in the hot pepper-eating contest.