For an event called Chili Fest, it seems imperative the chili would be spectacular. This year’s offerings didn’t fail to deliver. With more than 30 restaurants and organizations offering their interpretations of the classic stew — ranging from Viva’s succulent pork stew to Maté Factor’s vegetarian tofu chili — there were tasty and piping hot options galore. The local corn bread, apple crisp and hot beverages perfectly complemented the chili samples. Another plus was the incredibly reasonable price for the chili samples at $1 per serving, or less, depending on which set of tickets participants bought. The chili was a bargain, allowing tasters to sample as much of the delectable stews as they wished.
The spectacle at Chili Fest ranged from mechanical bull riding to Ithaca College’s own WICB DJs. One of its highlights was the pepper-eating contest, where bystanders watched as brave souls ate jalapeños and other peppers. At the mechanical bull-riding station, participants and spectators alike could laugh and cheer each other on, adding to the camaraderie the festival brought. The karaoke station set up in the center of The Commons, where attendees could sing their hearts out, definitely drew large crowds but wasn’t always the most melodious. WICB’s tent gave the community the best of pop, playing songs like
Beyoncé’s “Diva,” but they had trouble finding participants for their dance contest.
While the chili was hot, the weather was definitely not. The fact that Chili Fest had to be rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday put a cinch in many people’s plans. The 50 to 60 mph winds, which caused the cancellation, were a downer, while the slushy roads and dreary skies during the festival presented a predicament for attendees. Additionally, the chilly temperatures on Sunday led to crowding inside of Center Ithaca, while the people waiting in the long lines outside shivered in the cold.