Downtown Ithaca features not one but two chili events this Saturday!

The 20th annual Downtown Ithaca Chili Cook-Off is sure to draw crowds to the Ithaca Commons, but there’s a free “Anti Capitalist Chili Fest” this year, too.

The Chili Cook-Off fills the Ithaca Commons every February! 14850 file photo by Mark H. Anbinder.

Downtown Ithaca’s official chili competition features entrants from over forty eateries around town, including meaty chilis, vegetarian chilis, and vegan chilis, plus beer tastings, wine tastings, local honey, and even some spicy sweets. Sample tickets are available in advance, or at tables around the Ithaca Commons on Saturday, for 5 tastes or for 10 tastes, with funds going to local causes including supporting downtown events. In the past, funds from the event have gone to employment programs, Healthy Food for All, the AIDS Ride for Life, and programs supported by the United Way of Tompkins County.

Alongside the Chili Cook-Off will be a Silent Disco featuring DJ Gourd. If you haven’t been to one of those, everyone gets wireless headphones and can dance to the music without random passersby having to hear it.

In the meantime, the Food Not Bombs Ithaca group is hosting its second annual “Anti Capitalist Chili Fest” offering free chili at Dewitt Park, at the corner of Buffalo and Cayuga Streets. They say vegan chili of all variety, corn bread, side dishes, and hot coffee, tea, and hot chocolate will be available from 12-4pm, and there’s a “Really, Really Free Market” taking place inside the First Baptist Church at the same time. Anyone coming to the alternative Chili Fest is welcome to bring items to contribute to the free market, a vegan dish to share, or zines or literature. The Chili Fest is an expanded version of the weekly free vegan lunch held each week by the Food Not Bombs group.

The 20th annual Chili Cook-Off runs  from 11:30am-4pm on Saturday, February 11th.

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