Chili takes center stage at cook-off

September 22, 2005|by KRISTIN WILSON

The Hagerstown Suns Chili Cook-off & Music Festival returns this year with more vying chili chefs, lots of live, local music and a national sponsor - Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce - whose product will be found in generous amounts Saturday, Sept. 24.

"Of course, leave it to the Hagerstown Suns to come up with fun stuff," says Kevin Moriarty, executive director of the Washington County Arts Council.

Proceeds from the second chili cook-off held by the Hagerstown Suns Class A baseball team will benefit the local arts council.


There are 27 chili-making teams registered to compete Saturday at Municipal Stadium. Contestants with team names like Chili Burners, Chili Cowboys and the Devil's Blend will jockey for three awards including a $1,000 best overall chili prize, peoples' choice chili award, and best booth display.

"Even if people don't want to spend the day eating chili, it's worth it just to show up and check the booths out," Moriarty says. "That's art." Last year participants revved up their creativity, creating booths with country-western themes, red-white-and-blue flag pride and one booth with a game-day chili theme, complete with live, satellite TV broadcasting football games.

Festival-goers will be able to sample as many of the 27 chilies as they would like. Four samples are included in the admission price, two for children. Additional samples can be purchased for $1 each. The festival also includes KidsZone with inflatable attractions, arts and crafts, face painting and a reptile petting zoo. Other concessions and beer will be available.

Six bands from the Tri-State region will perform throughout the afternoon. They include:

  • Noon. Basement. Originally a St. Maria Goretti High School band, Basement's original music follows the sound of groups like Goo Goo Dolls, Weezer, Oasis and Vertical Horizon.

  • 1 p.m. Complete Circle. This Fayetteville, Pa., band has two CDs out and a following among the college music scene.

  • 2 p.m. Admiral Browning. This four-member MiddletownMd., based instrumental-only group plays a combination of math-rock and progressive-metal that they call "instru-metal."

  • 3 p.m. Good For Nothing. An all-original pop/punk/rock/alternative band based out of Waynesboro, Pa.

  • 4 p.m. Distorted Penguins. The six members of Distorted Penguins, from Cumberland, Md., play straight rock'n'roll.

  • 5 p.m. Saving Lisa. This group is a piano-based rock band from Chambersburg, Pa., playing original and cover music in the style of such groups as The Cure, Better Than Ezra and Ben Folds Five.

The Suns' chili cook-off and music festival was a smash hit last year raising more than $18,000, says Kurt Landes, general manager of the baseball team. All of that money went to the Community Free Clinic in downtown Hagerstown, to help serve Washington County residents without medical insurance.

This year's beneficiary, the Washington County Arts Council, plans to return to the community all of the money it receives from the Suns.

"The money that we receive, we turn around and re-grant it to arts projects countywide," Moriarty says. This year, because of the chili cook-off, the arts council will be able to increase its funding by about 30 percent.

"These are projects such as drawing classes at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, a dance program at Girls Inc., education programs at the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and the Western Maryland Blues Fest, to name a few," he says.

If you go ...

WHAT: Hagerstown Suns Chili Cook-off & Music Festival

WHEN: Noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24

WHERE: Municipal Stadium, 274 E. Memorial Blvd., Hagerstown

COST: Tickets in advance cost $10; $5, ages 4 to 12; free for ages 3 and younger. Tickets purchased the day of the event are $12, adults; and $6, ages 4 to 12.

MORE: For more information go to Tickets can be purchased through the Web site or by calling the Suns at 301-791-6266.

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