The cooking competition is on.
The 17th annual Hanover Chili Cook Off is set for Sunday, said Bean, one of the annual event's organizers. The festivities begin at
11 a.m. at the Good Field Complex off North Forney Avenue, with events running until 5 p.m.
Bean said organizers are striving to make this year's event bigger and better. So far, things appear on pace to again have about 50 chili vendors, offering all types of chili and salsa. In addition, attendees can expect more seafood this year, including crab cakes and other specialized dishes.
It's part of an effort, Bean said, to continue to grow an event that in past years has been a boon for Hanover.
"We just want to make sure we have a variety, and that we're always adding things," he said. "We've never been about fancy, just about real good food."
In recent years, the Hanover chili event has served as the state championship for cooks, and entries are judged by the International Chili Society. Along those lines, the winners in the Open Chili division will receive the coveted PA Keystone Cup.
The Cup was first awarded last year, but at the time there was a catch. The trophy, made from Pennsylvania black walnut and cut from black granite, wasn't quite ready. So, the winning "BOPS Hazard" team had to wait until this past June to receive its trophy, which will be on display for all to see at their table.
The awards are serious, but also all in fun, said Chili Cook Off committee member John Loose, who added this year there will also be more entertainment for kids.
"It's been a conscious effort to make the event more family friendly," Loose said.
Bean said that entertainment will again include a
juggler, a clown and face-painting, but also this year will include a specialized bounce house where contestants can kick off their shoes and have a friendly joust or two.
And of course the Hanover event has always been about helping the community, Bean said. Last year, the event raised more than $50,000, he said, money that was put back into organizations such as the H.A.R.T. Center in New Oxford and Guthrie Memorial Library in Hanover.
The hope is the interest and the crowds continue, so that donation number can be pushed even higher.
"I'm hoping we can do even better this year," he said.
Bean said he's also gotten plenty of calls this summer from locals worried about the shuttering of KClinger's Tavern, a previous sponsor and a business many people closely associated with the event. But that closure won't affect the cook off.
"There have been no changes to the cook off as far as that goes," he said. "It's going to go on, and it's going to be bigger and better, and we just hope people will come out and have a great time."
If you go
WHAT: 17th annual Hanover Chili Cook Off
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Good Field Complex, Hanover
TICKETS: $6 in advance or $7 at the door
INFORMATION: For more information on the event or purchase of tickets, check online at hanoverchilicookoff.com, or search for the cook off on Facebook