Dozens Compete in Antigo's Annual Chili Cook-off

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Lots of bellies will be full Wednesday night after the community's annual chili cook-off. The event that's become a tradition for the city had unique rules and outstanding outcomes.

There's nothing quite like a hot bowl of chili on a cold winter's day. Wednesday, nearly 50 businesses and organizations put forth their best chefs in an attempt to make the best tasting chili in town.

Matthew Erickson, who was representing Waukesha Bearings, is hoping his recipe will have everyone's mouth watering.

"I thought I had a pretty good chili recipe, so last year we gave it a shot and took second place last year, so coming back this year and hopefully taking that number one spot," he said.

But students from Antigo High School's FFA organization think they've got the winning recipe.

"The elk and the corn make our chili the best," said Marshall Sullivan, a senior. "There's no chili like this; it's the best chili," he said enthusiastically.

The contest features two categories: traditional and roughneck - where anything goes. Everyone seems to have their own unique recipes, but they all must adhere to the same set of rules.

Beginning at 8 a.m., entrants must do all of the prepping and cooking on-site in downtown Antigo, and out in the cold.

"I think it's just the fun of getting out and preparing a Nesco of chili and you never know how the weather's gonna be," said Deena Grabowsky, executive director of the Antigo/Langlade County Chamber of Commerce. "Today's not bad temperature-wise, but it has been misting all day. We've been out here days when it's been cold and in the one digits," she said.

Businesses and organizations aren't just competing for best tasting chili, they're also putting their decorative skills to test, competing for best booth.

The public is invited to eat free chili beginning at 5:30 p.m, but don't expect to learn any secret ingredients.

"It's good, that's about the best I can describe it, it's good," Erickson said.

First prize winners in both categories will receive a plaque and traveling trophy.

The Christmas Community Parade follows the cook-off at 6:30 p.m.

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