A barrage of chili concoctions warmed up chilly Brantford residents on Sunday.
The 6th annual Chili Willy Cook-Off drew more than 1,500 people to Harmony Square.
A total of 18 vendors including local restaurants, churches and other organizations served up their own takes on the dish as country-rock band Dry County entertained the crowd.
“Every year it grows,” said event co-organizer Brian Witteveen, owner of Strodes BBQ and Deli. “It makes me happy. We love doing this and getting everyone together in downtown Brantford. I hope people here are having a fun, family-friendly day.”
Jennifer Middleton, community events co-ordinator with the City of Brantford, said the annual cook-off provides residents an opportunity to sample multiple chills while learning more about local businesses and organizations.
“It is a great day,” Middleton said. “For only $5, you can have 18 kinds of chili. All proceeds go toward free public programming in Harmony Square.”
Brantford resident Natalie Adcoe said she has taken advantage of recent winter events in the city’s downtown.
“I think it is a great community event,” Adcoe said. “It is good to get out in the winter. I brought my three kids to Frosty Fest last weekend and this is another great event.”
Lucas Duguid, owner of Sophia’s Bakery and Cafe, said Sunday’s event provided an opportunity to support the revitalization of Brantford’s downtown.
“This is about showing people that there are great things happening in downtown Brantford,” Duguid said. “It is part of the changing narrative of what it means to be part of this community.”
Ten-year-old Caden Mason of Brantford said he was more than satisfied with the cook-off.
“I like the chili because it’s nice and hot and it’s warming me up,” Mason said.
Winners in the 2013 Chili Willy Cook-Off’s five award categories are as follows:
- People’s Choice: Piston Broke
- Mayor’s Choice: Strodes BBQ and Deli
- For the Love of Chili (media choice): Gateway Church Brantford
- Kick Back Award: Goo’s
- Best Display: OLG The Getaway