Spring has bloomed in Bluffton and that makes it the perfect time to get out to local springtime festivals and events. Bluffton Self Help is in the final stages of preparation for their second annual Red Apron Chili Cookoff. Chili chefs from across the Lowcountry and Southeast will compete in this ICS sanctioned event held on Saturday, Feb. 23rd starting at 11 am at the Tanger II Outlet Center in Bluffton.
This is a family-friendly event and the community is invited to come out, partake of some fabulous gourmet-level chili and support the wonderful charitable efforts of Bluffton Self Help.
Categories for this year’s competition include traditional red chili, chili verde, salsa, homestyle chili and people’s choice. Winners at this regional will be eligible to advance to the ICS-sanctioned World International Chili Cookoff in October. Note that the first two categories above prohibit the inclusion of beans, so in other words, this is a serious competition, folks! But then again it is also Bluffton so expect the unconventional, the eccentric and perhaps the best chili you’ve ever tasted!
The cook’in begins at 11 am, but the judging is not until 4 pm, so spectators can take in all the preparation and slow simmer’n (and tasting) prior to the entries being judged and the winners announced. For those non-chili lovers out there, there will be hot dogs with all the fix’ins (as well as beer, wine and soda) will be available for purchase.
One of the highlights of the event will be live music provided by The Brewer Band from Beaufort. Made up of local musicians the band performs a lot of country and a little rock-n-roll. Sounds like just the right combination for a chili cookoff! The Great Pretenders and Familiar Face will also perform. The cookoff’s opening ceremony will feature the Bluffton High School cheerleaders as well as the Bluffton High School ROTC and a fine soprano vocalist representing the Boys and Girls Club belting out our national anthem.
Trophies, prize money and bragging rights are all up for grabs, so competition is intense. Attendees will vote for their favorite chili (“People’s Choice”) and best booth decoration. Participants include Bombora’s Grille, Giuseppi’s of Bluffton, and Old Carolina Restaurant. Several past winners are also returning to defend their titles including Scott Bishop from Hilton Head (won Salsa last year) and Thomas Ferrel from Berkeley Hall (won Homestyle last year).
All proceeds benefit the Bluffton Self Help, a United Way Agency partner. Founded in 1987 by Bluffton resident Ida Martin (out of her garage!), BSH provides assistance to working families, senior citizens or any one else in critical need in the Bluffton area. In 2011, BSH served over 22,000 people, and provided approximately $128,000 to 513 families for short-term emergency assistance towards housing/utility bills, medical assistance, and children’s programs assistance. BSH volunteers also coordinate a variety of service projects including Thanksgiving dinners, holiday toy drive, warm blankets and coats in winter, and school supplies at the beginning of each school year. Locals folks pitching in to help their neighbors – truly the epitome of the “Bluffton state of mind”!
Red Apron Chili Cookoff
- Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 Starts at 11am and judging at 4 pm
- Tanger Outlet II, Bluffton
- Tickets are $7 in advance / $10 at the door (included entry wristband and bottomless tastings)
- Kids age 5 and under are FREE
- Canned goods and non-perishable food will be collected to stock the BSH pantry