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

The 19th annual Downtown Ithaca Chili Cook-Off is sure to draw crowds to the Ithaca Commons tomorrow, 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 about thirty 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 for 5 tastes or $10 for 11 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.

In the meantime, the Food Not Bombs Ithaca group is hosting an “Anti Capitalist Chili Fest” offering free chili at Dewitt Park, at the corner of Buffalo and Cayuga Streets. They say several chilis will be available from 12-4pm, as well as coffee and tea, 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.

Buffalo Street Books is also holding its own event in the Dewitt Mall, with Browncoat Cat Rescue bringing adoptable cats who need good homes alongside some new books that need readers. “Caturday” is from 2-6pm.

Alongside the 19th annual Chili Cook-Off on the Commons are Chili Idol Karaoke at the Bernie Milton Pavilion, stache and beard competitions, a family fun zone in Center Ithaca, and free massages from the Finger Lakes School of Massage. The event runs  from 11:30am-4pm on Saturday, February 11th.

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