Yesterday, The Boyfriend, The Friend, and I headed down to Waterbury for the 2nd Annual 5 Alarm Chili Fest benefiting the Waterbury Neighborhood Council. Let me be honest, I try to avoid Waterbury unless work takes me there, and even then I go begrudgingly. However, being a good (or at least agreeable) girlfriend, I went along for the ride.
Held in the restored Waterville Firehouse, across from Waterville Park, there were two local bands (including one called Almost 13, which is made up of kids who look like middle-schoolers), a bouncy house, 50/50 raffle, and a handful of arts and crafts booths. Being sponsored by the Fire Department, there were (naturally) fire trucks, a trailer to teach fire safety, and a police safety trailer. For a mere $5, you were given a tasting spoon to sample the nine entrants, and tickets to vote for your two favorites.
The chili came from individuals, engine companies, and even a couple of local restaurants and cafes. The folks serving them didn’t seem to be the actual chefs, so they couldn’t answer any questions, sadly. Each entrant was to prepare 5 gallons of chili for the contest and then the winner was to make 20 gallons for the upcoming Octoberfest. So…the prize is more work? I wouldn’t even be able to bring myself to make 5 gallons of anything, except maybe booze.
Number 1 really should have been put towards the end–the only really spicy (yet flavorful) one in the lot, the burning stayed with you til about number 5. Number 2 tasted like Beefaroni, and as much as I love disgusting canned pasta (no, I really, really do), I was thankful that the rest were tastier than that. One had cumin; one was all meat (ALL meat); another was a chicken and black bean chili; and the rest were variants on the traditional stuff with varying levels of heat.
The event was definitely worth the $5 since you could go back and eat multiple samples of each one, and people watch. And believe me, there was plenty of people watching to be done there. Unfortunately for you, we didn’t bother sticking around to find out who won and I can’t find it anywhere on the mystical interwebs so I’m just going to pretend that #1 won*, because that’s the way it should have been (and because it looked like it was in the lead and the beefaroni was pulling up the rear).
Two salt shakers because spicy is as good as salty and I’m all for anything that helps improve CT’s needier cities.
* I have managed to confirm that #1 by Fire Fighter Brian Ducey, from Truck 2 did in fact win. There is justice in the world, after all.