ChiliFest heating up Huntington

Patrons purchase tickets for last year's Chilifest.
Emily Rice | The Parthenon
Patrons purchase tickets for Saturday’s Chilifest.

ChiliFest will celebrate its 33rd anniversary Sept. 10 in Huntington and will raise funds to support the local Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Tri-State Area.

Teams from all around the world will come to Huntington over the weekend to compete and have an opportunity to advance to the next round for the International Chili Society.

Ron Smith, owner of Chili Willis, created the event in 1983 when he decided to take his love for chili and turn it into a festival, which started at Ritter Park.

Through local area partnerships and a successful first year, Smith was able to make his vision come to fruition on an even bigger scale in the following years.

Smith partnered with WSAZ and together they promote and put on the event year after year for area chili lovers.

Through the partnership, Smith was able to take the ChiliFest to downtown Huntington, where the crowds are bigger and more eager about the festival.

The annual ChiliFest is not only an opportunity for chili lovers to enjoy chili, but the festival also raises money for The Ronald McDonald House which in Huntington.

Jaye Toler, director of development for the Ronald McDonald House, said that the proceeds go toward the house, where they serve families of ill children who are in area hospitals receiving treatment.

“When the community supports ChiliFest, they’re supporting these sick children and their families,” Toler said.

The festival will feature live music, a Kid’s Corner with inflatables and chili sampling tickets for purchase.

Winning teams will go on to compete at the World’s Competition in Reno, Nevada in October.

Darius Booker can be contacted at [email protected]