Dozens packed Breidert Green in the historic district of downtown Frankfort Sunday to get a taste of chili as the seasonlong Winter on the Green events wrapped up with a cook-off contest.
Local cooks pitted their concoctions against one another as the village of Frankfort, in partnership with the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce, presented the fifth of its five-part series.
“The whole purpose of the Winter on the Green events is for families and friends to come out and enjoy the outdoors during the long winter month,” said Sue Lynchey, event coordinator for the village of Frankfort. “Hopefully, we provide that opportunity.”
Winter on the Green’s chili cook-off featured the recipes of 15 amateur and 4 professional cooks.
“Everybody’s got their own version of chili,” said Peggy Alexa, a member of the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce. “We get a lot of repeat chilis, but we also get some new faces.”
Frankfort resident Kim McCarthy said she came out to support a local cook.
“I usually don’t get out of the house on Sundays,” McCarthy said. “I have a friend who’s a contestant.”
McCarthy said she had tried four different chili recipes so far.
“His chili was great,” she said, referring to her friend’s recipe. “It had a Tex-Mex flavor. The heat between the different chilis is interesting. They’re good. Some are hotter than others.”
Alexa said bragging rights were at stake for those competing in the chili cook-off.
A panel of Judges bestowed honors to the first and second place winners for amateurs and issued a first place award for professionals, and those that attended the event voted on the chili recipe dubbed the crowd-pleaser.
McCarthy said she knows how busy her friend was preparing for the chili cook-off
“He’s been putting it together for a while,” she said.
The event also included hot cocoa, cookies and a bonfire.
Crete resident Dee Hayes said getting out of the house for an afternoon with her husband and her mother was a good idea. She said it can be difficult for her family to get out sometimes depending on their schedules.
“We try to go out as much as we can,” Hayes said.
Hayes said she believes Winter on the Green and its chili cook-off could become an annual tradition for her and her family. Her favorite recipe was the green chili.
“So far, it’s good,” Hayes said. “I’ve had two.”
Lynchey said she believes Winter on the Green does a wonderful job of bringing people to downtown Frankfort, which has its benefits to businesses in the area.
“I think having the action in town gives people an opportunity to dine at the local restaurants and shop at the shops,” she said. “Hopefully, that will bring awareness to the event-goers to go check out their shops and see what kind of specials or deals they have. We hope for it to promote business.
“It seems to work,” she said. “It’s one that fits at this time of year.”