Chili Cook-Off draws large crowds to downtown Traverse City

Chili samples at the 20th Annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off.

Over 1,600 hungry people packed the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City for the 20th Annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off on Saturday.

The event gave people the chance to sample chili from 13 area restaurants.

Chili lovers of all kinds got to enjoy the cook-off, with eight different recipe categories: One, Two, and Three-Alarm (ranging from least to most spicy), White, Vegetarian, No Bean, Seafood, and Ethnic. After sampling the various dishes, participants were able to vote for their favorites, giving that restaurant bragging rights until next year.

The Chili Cook-Off winners were as follows: Schelde's Grille & Spirits for One-Alarm chili; West Bay Beach for Two-Alarm chili; Workshop Brewing Co. for Three-Alarm chili; Scalawags Whitefish & Chips for Seafood and No Bean chili; Oryana: Lake St. Cafe for Vegetarian chili; Minervas for White chili; Harbor 22 for Ethnic chili; Minervas' White chili for the People's Choice.

People had the option of sampling eight chilies for $9 or single bowls for $3. The Downtown Chili Cook-Off serves as the only fundraiser of the year for the Downtown Traverse City Association, allowing the organization to host various free events throughout the year.

Downtown Development Authority Marketing Director Colleen Paveglio said that she is thankful for the success that the cook-off has seen.

"We're really thankful of the local restaurants that put the time, and talent, and also their food product that they donate for this, and we're really thankful of them," Paveglio said. "And the community really loves it, we really love it, and we expect to serve about 1,200 people chili today."