February 24, 2009


Chill-A-Bration returns Saturday with beer, chili

Event will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Courthouse Park, featuring chili cook-off, dunking booth


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Dan Stevens of Interlaken serves up a sample of steaming hot John Deere chili during the 2008 chili cook-off. The competition will be held again at Saturday’s Chill-A-Bration.

Staff reporter

Cortland’s second Chill-A-Bration festival will feature chili and beer samples, as well as sled dog demonstrations and a dunking booth this weekend.
The event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in Courthouse Park, is sponsored by the Cortland Downtown Partnership, the Cortland Regional Sports Council and the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce.
There is no fee for attending the event.
“It’s been a long, brutal winter,” said Garry VanGorder, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “This is a good reason to get outside and have some fun.”
VanGorder said the Chamber of Commerce will accept entries for the chili cook-off until Wednesday afternoon, and so far, the organization has received six entries for the competition, mainly from local businesses.
Amateur cooks, businesses, and organizations can enter the competition for free by visiting the Chamber of Commerce’s office at 37 Church St. before Wednesday afternoon.
This year, the Chamber of Commerce decided to open the chili cook-off to firehouse and emergency personnel services and fraternal organizations, such as the Lions Club and the American Legion.
VanGorder said the Chamber of Commerce has received “little response” from these organizations.
“But this is only the second year that we’ve had this event,” VanGorder said. “It will take people some time to wrap their heads around the competition.”
The chili cook-off is free to enter, and Dave Visor and Jeff Dunn, who also serve as the judges for the Ithaca Chili Cook-Off, will decide which recipe deserves plaques for being the best traditional and nontraditional recipes.
Traditional chili is a basic red chili, while a nontraditional can be a white chili, a chicken chili or a venison chili, VanGorder said.
Altogether, about 80 gallons of chili will be made for the cook-off, which will start around noon, VanGorder said.
People can purchase $1 tickets to taste a sample of chili, which will be used to offset the cost of running Chill-A-Bration, said Adam Megivern, director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership.
The event will cost $5,000 to $6,000, between marketing, transporting equipment to the event and other costs, Megivern said.
He added the three organizations sponsoring the event are splitting the cost, and Greek Peak, Royal Auto Group, Victory Promotion, Morey’s Towing, and Builder’s Best have agreed to donate funds.
A beer tent will also be open, and for $3 a glass, people can taste five different varieties of beer from Yuengling and the Cortland Beer Company, VanGorder said.
Advanced tickets can be purchased at Mando Books and the Red Jug Pub, and the $20 ticket includes admission to the beer tent and five samples of chili.
Throughout the day, people can also learn about the sport of sled dog racing from the nonprofit organization Pennsylvania Dog Sled, which will bring a team of dogs to the event.
People can also make snowmen, tunnels, and other creations to enter in a snow sculpting contest held throughout the day.
Megivern said this competition would be more informal than last year, and people can make any kind of creation they wish in the snow, with the best creations receiving recognition from the event organizers.
VanGorder said the organization 40 Below is also running a dunking tank, and wet suits are available for participants to wear.
“But maybe we’ll get some volunteers in there with their bathing suits,” VanGorder added.
Later this week, students at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES will start assembling a ramp at Courthouse Park for skiers and snowboarders to ride down, Megivern said.
Greek Peak ski center in Virgil will make snow on Saturday morning at Courthouse Park to place on the ramp, Megivern said.
Participants will need to bring their own equipment for the ramp, Megivern said.


To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe