UPDATE: Thousands Pack Pullman Square for ChiliFest

By: Olivia Fecteau; WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Olivia Fecteau; WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 9/14/13 @ 6:15 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Thousands of people packed Pullman Square in Huntington to taste some chili at the 30th Annual ChiliFest, but the event was about more than just food for many people.

“Gosh, it's wonderful. We're having a good time,” Vicky Laughlin said.

Laughlin brought her granddaughter Lily to ChiliFest, driving from St. Albans for the day.

“I watch her on Saturdays so her momma can work and my friend and I decided we would bring her [to ChiliFest],” Laughlin said. “None of us had been here before.”

They and many others stood in long lines to sample different chilis, including WSAZ’s signature “Chili in a Corn Chip Bag” – popular with people young and old.

“We like coming here every year,” Katrina Baladjay said.

Her sister Lydia added, “I love the Fritos, and I never like chili at all.”

Allison Harr drove back home to Huntington from South Carolina where she now lives.

“It's a family-friendly event. My brother's here and he's got three kids. They're jumping over at the jump-houses and you also have some beverages for the adults, so everybody's having a good time,” Harr said.

The money raised will go to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

ORIGINAL STORY 9/13/13 @ 2:45 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- For the 30th time "chili-heads" from across the region and cooks from up and down the east coast of the United States will converge in downtown Huntington on Saturday, September 14th for Chilifest 2013.

The first Chilifest was held in 1983 in Ritter Park. It later moved to 4th Avenue in downtown Huntington and moved to 3rd Avenue at Pullman Plaza several years ago. ChiliFest is the West Virginia State Chili Championship sanctioned by the International Chili Society and sponsored by Chili Willi's and WSAZ NewsChannel 3.

Cooks come from far and wide to downtown Huntington, with their pots, spices, secret ingredients and chili lore for this spirited competition. The 2013 Chilifest Champion qualifies to represent West Virginia at the ICS World's Chili Championship October 11-13 in Palm Springs California.

With the perfect fall weather predicted crowds of 15,000 - 20,000 are expected to fill 3rd Avenue between 9th and 11th Streets.

Here is the timetable for the day:
Cooks register from 8:00am-9:30am at the Registration/Judging tent on 3rd Avenue and 8th Street. You must present your ICS Registration Card to participate in the cook-off.

10:00am Cooks meeting at Judging Tent
10:30am Cooks start preparation of ingredients and light stoves for Chili Verde
11:00am Coke and beer sales begin
11:30am National Anthem at Pullman Square Stage
11–4:00pm Marshall Pediatrics Kids Korner events begin at 9th St. and Pullman Square
12-12:45pm Chris Sutton live on Pullman Square Stage
1-1:20 pm Hot Pepper Eating Contest
1:30–2:15pm Live music on Pullman Square Stage
2:45–3:30 pm City Heat live on Pullman Square Stage
3:15pm ICS Red Chili judging begins
3:40-4:00 pm Beer Drinking Contest
4:00-4:20 pm Shot N’ Holler Contest
4:30–5:20 pm City Heat live on Pullman Square Stage
5:30 pm Announcement of Winners and drawing for 2013 Toyota Camry at Pullman Square Stage


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