Chili contest officials seek ticket sellers, contestants

PARKERSBURG – The Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley is looking for off-site locations to sell tickets and for contestants for its annual chili competition in October.

Chamber President and CEO Jill Parsons on Wednesday asked chamber members to participate as off-site locations where more than 200 advance tickets were sold last year for the Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cookoff, about a quarter of the attendance at the competition held at Point Park near the new amphitheater. Seventeen chamber members agreed to be off-site sales locations in 2013.

By late Wednesday morning after Parsons emailed members, about 10 businesses responded and agreed to sell advance tickets, Parsons said.

“I just got another one,” she excitingly said.

The cookoff is noon-3 p.m. Oct. 11 at Point Park. The Davisson Brothers Band from West Virginia will be the entertainment.

Tickets are $15 at the door, Parsons said.

Advance tickets are $10 in advance for members of the chamber and employees, she said. Advance tickets are $12 for non-chamber members. It would be ideal to have at least 20 off-site ticket locations, Parsons said.

“It really is so beneficial to sell them in advance,” she said.

Ticket sales start on Sept. 15. Participating off-site locations will have ticket packets delivered by Sept. 8 and the chamber will get the proceeds and unsold tickets by Oct. 9 and Oct. 10.

Participants will receive two free tickets to the cookoff.

Members interested in being off-site locations can email their information including days open, hours the business is open and if more than 10 tickets are needed. Businesses with high customer traffic would be ideal, but those with many employees interesting in buying a tickets will work, too, according to Parsons.

The Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cookoff is organized by the chamber and the Parkersburg Area Jaycees. Part of the proceeds from the cookoff will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg.

The chamber also is getting commitments from competitors for the 2014 competition, Parsons said.

The entry fee for competitors is $25, $75 if the chamber has to provide a tent. Entry forms can be downloaded at movchamber.org or obtained by calling 304 422-3588.

Last year, 39 contestants competed in the cookoff. Forty appears to be “critical mass” for an efficient cookoff because of the environs of the Point Park venue, Parsons said.

If there’s more than 40 this year, “we’ll find a way to make it happen,” she said.

Aug. 29 is the deadline to enter.

The entry fee for competitors is $25, or $75 if a tent is provided by the chamber.

Entry forms are at movchamber.org or by calling the chamber at 304 422-3588.

Ticket holders will vote for their favorite entries for the People’s Choice and Spirit Award and judges will choose the winners in the traditional, non-traditional and vegetarian categories. A competition also will be held between fire departments.

The winner of the People’s Choice will receive $250. The first-place winner in the three judged categories will win $200.