MIDDLEBURY - The Better Middlebury Partnership announced the Secnd Annual Middlebury Winter Carnival and Chili Contest, taking place on Saturday, Feb. 27. Named one of the Top 10 Winter Events of 2010 by The Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the event includes sled dog demonstrations, snowshoe races, live music and award-winning chili on the streets of historic downtown Middlebury.
Over 1,000 visitors attended last year's carnival and even more are expected to turn out this year for the headlining event: a pro/am chili contest, taking place on the sidewalks of Main Street and Merchants Row from 2-4 p.m.
The downtown will be overflowing with chili from over 40 restaurants, caterers and amateurs from around the state. The public picks professional and amateur winners in eight categories - including Best Beef Chili, Best Chicken Chili, Best Veggie Chili, a best 'Kitchen Sink' category, and Best Overall Chili.
This year's chili contest winners will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. Last year's professional winners included American Flatbread, Tully and Marie's, the Grapevine Grille, Costello's Market and Zest Catering. The Middlebury Fire Department dominated the 2009 amateur results, and will be back to defend their titles this year.
Passes for unlimited samples of chili will be available at the event for $1 kids (under 12) / $2 adults, or in advance at The Alpine Shop, American Flatbread, Forth n' Goal, Green Peppers, Rosie's Restaurant, Sweet Cecily and Two Brothers Tavern.
Middlebury Winter Carnival & Chili Contest t-shirts will be on sale at the event for $12, and are available in advance for $10 at the Alpine Shop, Forth n' Goal and Sweet Cecily in Middlebury.
Water will be available at the event for $1/bottle. All proceeds go to finance Better Middlebury Partnership events, such as The Middlebury Winter Carnival and Chili Contest, the Middlebury Spooktacular and A Very Merry Middlebury.
The festivities also include live music on the upper part of Main Street, which will be closed for dancing and a fire-throwing exhibition by the Flying Fists, a Middlebury College street performance group.
Snowshoe races for all ages will take place on the Middlebury town green at 2 p.m. Snowshoes are generously provided by the Alpine Shop.
Sled dog demonstrations will take place on the town green at 2 p.m. Meet and pet the dogs, learn about the sled and help rig the harnesses.
The Middlebury Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting an open house from 2-4 p.m. at the Fire Station on Seymour Street. Tour the station, explore the trucks and receive fun surprises.
The Middlebury Winter Carnival & Chili Contest also takes place the same weekend as the Middlebury College Winter Carnival. The Better Middlebury Partnership planned their event to highlight the events and traditions of the College carnival, with the hopes of bringing visitors to Middlebury to take advantage of some of the first-rate sporting events available to the public. NCAA men's and women's alpine giant slalom races take place at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl in Hancock all day, beginning at 9:30 a.m. NCAA Men's and Women's Nordic races take place at Middlebury College's Rikert Ski Touring Center in Ripton, beginning at 9:30 a.m. There will also be an A Cappella Summit taking place at The Mahaney Center for the Arts throughout the day, culminating with a performance in the evening. Tickets $10.
Also taking place Saturday evening is a Mardi Gras celebration at Middlebury's Town Hall Theater! Enjoy a great evening of music, dancing, light food with a Cajun flair, the crowning of the King and Queen and prizes for best costume! Tickets $25.
The Second Annual Middlebury Winter Carnival and Chili Contest is sponsored by several local businesses. The event is brought to you by the Better Middlebury Partnership and the Town of Middlebury.
Chili contest registration forms and event details can be found on the Better Middlebury Partnership website at www.bettermiddleburypartnership.org.