Approximately 15 vendors will fill Main Street Saturday with the savory smells of their chili creations for the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce's 12th annual Chili-Fest. The Chili-Fest Committee has been hard at work for months brewing this year's festival offerings which include classics such as the Trick-or-Treat parade, Royalty Contest, the Chili taste-off, and hot pepper eating contest. As an added enticement, the grand prize for the best chili this year is $500.
Beginning at 10:30 a.m. Main Street will be closed to traffic as volunteers and vendors transform downtown into the popular street fair for the community to enjoy. At the south end of the street runners will gather for the annual 5K/2K Fun Run/Walk sponsored by West Virginia Northern Community College's Phi Theta Kappa honorary society. The race begins at 11 a.m. and takes participants through the streets of beautiful downtown New Martinsville.
Pre-registration for the 5K Fun Run is $11, or $13 the day of the event, and $5 for the Kids 2K Fun Run. Awards will be given to top finishers in each category. Proceeds from the run will benefit PTK. Make checks payable to Phi Theta Kappa. Mail or drop off your application and payment to: WVNCC, 141 Main Street, New Martinsville. For more information call WVNCC at 304-455-4684. Visit rivercityrunners.com/2011_race_calendar.htm for an application and detailed information on the race under the appropriate calendar date listed.
Also, from 10 a.m. to noon, take your pet to the Florentine Arts Center located at 251 Main Street to register for the Critters Costume Contest. All donations from this event will benefit the Olive Branch Animal Rescue. At noon the kids will get in on the costume act as the Chili-Fest costume parade will gather in front of the Chamber of Commerce and go up Main Street. After the parade they will trick or treat from participating vendors.
Chili sales begin at noon while taste-off entries are accepted at the Chamber office from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Also beginning at 12:30 p.m. will be the Classic Car Cruise-in sponsored by Fast Eddy's Tire and Paint, followed by the 11th annual Ronald McDonald House Charity Auction at 1 p.m. This event, sponsored by the Wetzel County Farm Bureau, will be held at the New Martinsville city council chambers and features a wide selection of items including autographed memorabilia, crafts, gift baskets, and much more. Cozart Auction and Appraisal Service will provide the auctioneering. Anyone wishing to donate an item for the auction can call the WCFB at 304-386-4567 or drop it off at the auction. All proceeds from the auction will go to the Morgantown Ronald McDonald House.
Also during this time the Wetzel County Coalition Against Drug Abuse, along with the Wetzel County Sheriff's Office, will host a Prescription Drug Take Back event from noon to 3:30 p.m in front of the sheriff's office. This event offers a convenient way for you to safely dispose of unused and expired medications, no questions asked. The focus of the effort is to get commonly abused drugs out of circulation.
The Little Mr. and Miss Chili Pepper Royalty Contest will take place in the City Hall courtyard at 1:30 p.m. Emceeing the pageant will be 2011 Miss Town and Country Days Queen Holli Schell. Those crowned will receive Walmart gift cards. Should it rain, the royalty contest will be held in the lobby of the courthouse. And at 2 p.m., Dos Hermanos Mexican Restaurant will sponsor a pepper eating contest for the chance at winning a $25 gift certificate to the restaurant.
All day festivities at the Chili-Fest include children's games and activities, balloon art, and live musical entertainment by Rob Campbell. Also, Power Country 99.5 and Lite Rock 93R-FM/WXCR-FM radio stations will hold live remotes throughout the day as festival goers enjoy a feast of chili and other comfort-food fixins, and handmade crafts from 10 different vendors.
Notably, Baristas will serve beer in the gardens for those who like beer with their chili and the Tin Ceiling will hold their Christmas Open House all day, serving Sangria punch.
At 4 p.m. awards and giveaways will be presented on the courthouse steps. First prize for the Chili Cook-off is $500, followed by $250 and $100 for second and third place, respectively. Best costume, best table decorations, and peoples choice will be awarded $50 each. Restaurants will compete for a trophy and bragging rights.
Also, each hour free raffle drawings will take place for the public with prizes and gift certificates donated by local businesses including: the Academy for Dance and Theatre Arts; ArtsLink, Inc.; Lite Rock 93R-FM/WXCR-FM radio; McDonald's; the New Martinsville Parks and Recreation Commission; Quinet's Court Restaurant; RadioShack; Subway No. 6173; Valley Cinema 3; and many more.
Additional sponsors include Dos Hermanos, Fast Eddy's Tire and Paint, Walmart, West Virginia Northern Community College, S&S Jewelry, and the Wetzel County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Festivities continue on Main Street throughout the evening with an auction at Christy's Antiques at 5 p.m. and live music at the Lincoln Theater at 7 p.m. provided by SI Connection.
New Chili-Fest T-shirts will be available for sale this year at the chamber booth for $15 each. For more information on this year's festivities, call the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce at 304-455-3825, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.wetzelcountychamber.com.