Chuckwagon cook Danny Anderson served chili to Chief Deputy Scott Yunk at City of Belvidere booth at the Chamber Chili Cookoff.

By Anne Eickstadt

The 2022 Annual Chili Cookoff took place on Thursday, Feb. 24. at the Community Building Complex, 111 W. 1st St. As usual, it was open to all members of the Belvidere Area Chamber of Commerce. The judges had an extensive checklist with which to determine how they rated each recipe and accompaniments. They also judged the booths so entrants were encouraged to create elaborate displays to showcase their recipes.

It was a difficult decision for the judges as many of the chili recipes were excellent and the competitors went all out in their booth displays.

Hamblock Ford Lincoln dressed as popular KISS band members. The City Hall booth was a western chuck wagon. The Belvidere Police Dept. dressed as convicts and served chili and Strip Search Punch. The previous competition winners, Belvidere Fire Dept., participated as firefighters with their Five-Alarm Chili ‘n fixin’s. Rep. Joe Sosnowski’s booth was the Black Pearl of “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie fame. The creativity on display was incredible.

Danny Anderson prepared the chili for the City of Belvidere booth.

“I just made the chili,” he said. “Gina DelRose set up everything. It’s a great event. It provides an opportunity for business leaders to get together. It generates camaraderie.”

Gina DelRose said, “It’s great to see all the creativity. This event allows businesses/organizations to showcase themselves to the public.”

The Main Street Players of Boone County were participating in the cookoff as well. “It’s a lot of fun every year,” said Vince Melillo, director of recently presented ‘Farce of Habit.’ “It’s a good community event for all the Chamber members to get together.”

“I think all the chilis are wonderful,” said Belvidere Fire Chief Al Hyser. “However, the Belvidere Fire Department chili was the best I ever had. I enjoy all the camaraderie that Belvidere exhibits. This is a great time and we are happy to be here.”

“I am disappointed that the Belvidere Police Department chili was not chosen as the winner,” said Deputy Chief Matt Wallace. “We will do better next year. Congratulations to the winner.”

The judges chose Sustainable Staffing as the best chili winner this ear. The best booth display was a tie between Hamblock Ford Lincoln and the City of Belvidere.

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