|The weather isn’t exactly frightful, but the aromas are certainly delightful as chili chefs up and down Fifth Avenue prepare for this evening’s judging.|
Deena Grabowsky, executive director of the Antigo/Langlade County Chamber of Commerce, reported 36 entries in the 16th annual contest, with sampling by the public beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The parade will follow at 6:30 p.m.
It’s a competition, but a friendly one, and after 15 years, the contestants all have their traditional booth locations and swap spices, snacks, stories and, very rarely, recipes.
Cooks began preparing setting up and in many cases decorating their booths shortly after 8 a.m. and by mid-morning, the smells of frying hamburger and sausage along with spices and tomato sauces was wafting up and down the avenue. The rules require all chopping and cooking to be done on-site, meaning the work started early to make the judging deadline at 3 p.m.
There are two divisions. Traditional chili is defined as any kind of meat or combination of meats with chili peppers, various spices and ingredients with the exception of beans and pasta, which are strictly forbidden. Roughneck is defined as “anything goes.”
The tasters will judge the chili on aroma, consistency, taste and texture, with the winners announced at 6 p.m. Awards and trophies will be given out for first, second and third place in each division. There will also be awards for the best decorated booth.
Along with chili, visitors downtown can enjoy the smells of chocolate chip cookies baking and being sold at the Salvation Army booth at Fifth Avenue and Clermont Street along with cheese curds being pumped out at the Optimist Club trailer.
The chili entries, and team captains, include:
Antigo Area Shopper, Kelsey Zupon; Antigo FFA, chapter officers; Antigo Journal/Hot off the Press, Mike Haefs; Antigo Lions Club, Lyndon Swartzendruber; BB-GB-TB, Butch Perrot; BMO Harris Bank, Becky Danielson; Cathy’s Chili Cookers, Tina Rutzen; Chili of Antigo, Jim Pike; City Gas, Vince Federman; CoVantage Credit Union, Melissa Wilhelm;
Dennis Baginski Trucking, Bruce Baginski; Draeger Chiropractic, Keah Foster; Fear the “Deere,” Josh Falkauski; Frontier Communications, John Van Ooyen; Headquarters II, Stephanie Duncan; Hearty Castan Chili, Krystal Schreiber; Ho Chunk Gaming, Wittenberg, Eileen Brown; Hope Pregnancy Center, Jack Hoogendyk; Hydratight, Scott Zimmerman; Karl’s Transport, Sarah Vander Sanden;
Kretz Trucking Brokerage/Baginski Farms, Jackie Fondow; Lakeside Market, Cindy Lewis; Langlade Ford, Christine McGillvray; Lucky Ash Chili, Pam Parilek; Luxury Living, Nick Sinkler; Neve’s Floors to Go and Furniture, Gordie Neve; Northcentral Technical College, Tonya McKenna Trabant; Palace Theater, Barb Suick; Parsons of Antigo, Shane Hall; Sam’s Fantastic Chili Queens, Patricia Geiger; Sartori Company, Kane Goerke;
Team Zane, Bob MacDonald; The Holiday Coilers, Cindy Baginski; The Well, Thom Desmond; The Three Wise Women, Tori Kautza; Volm Companies, Jeff Somann; WB4, Nick Tews.
Don Emley stirred the chili at Neve’s Floors to Go and Furniture as the chili contest got underway this morning.