Music and chili mesh at Municipal Stadium

September 20, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Baltimore blues meets spicy hot chili Saturday at Municipal Stadium.

The fourth annual Hagerstown Suns Chili Cook-Off & Music Festival is part cooking contest, part music fest and part fundraiser.

Roughly 1,600 attended last year, said Joel Pagliaro, director of promotions and special events for the Suns.

Baltimore-area blues group Kelly Bell Band is the headliner. Other performers include acoustic country singer-songwriter Neil Herman and rock performers Complete Circle, which performed at the event last year.

Kelly Bell Band is new to the cook-off, but Hagerstown isn't new to Kelly Bell Band.

The group performed during a street festival in downtown Hagerstown last fall and during the Western Maryland Blues Fest in 2005.

Event organizers said the music won't be the only thing heating up the Suns stadium.

This year, there will be 31 teams of chili-makers - up from last year's 27 - vying for the top prize of $1,000 for "best overall chili." Second- and third-place teams will receive $500 and $250. There also is the People's Choice Award, though that designation doesn't come with a cash prize.


A judging panel - a combination of professional cooks, city officials and sponsors - will determine whose chili tastes best, Pagliaro said.

Proceeds from this year's chili cook-off will go to The Maryland Theatre, which plans to use the money to produce the children's opera "Why Dinosaurs Don't Smoke" at the theater, said Brian Sullivan, the theater's executive director.

The theater hopes to debut "Why Dinosaurs Don't Smoke" in spring 2008, Sullivan said. The opera bears an anti-smoking message and is intended for an audience of prekindergartners through sixth-graders.

Sullivan said producing the child-friendly opera is an effort borne of the theater's nascent educational outreach programing board, which will aim to educate children through performances.

Sullivan said the theater has allocated $25,000 from money the Washington County Gaming Commission donated from the production's projected cost of $50,000 to $60,000, Sullivan said.

Last year's chili cook-off raised roughly $19,500 for Walnut Street Community Health Center.

If you go ...

WHAT: Fourth annual Hagerstown Suns Chili Cook-off & Music Festival

WHEN: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22

Music lineup (times subject to change):

· 12:30 p.m. - Neil Herman

· 1:30 p.m. - Kelly Bell Band

· 3:30 p.m. - Complete Circle

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

COST: Advance tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for children. At the gate, adult tickets cost $12, and children's tickets cost $6.

MORE: For more information, go to

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