Things are about to heat up, with the Haverhill Firefighting Museum's fifth annual Chili Cook-Off just a few days away.
Returning for another celebration of fire and spice, this year's cook-off promises attendees an evening of tasty food and fun contests. Hosted at the Haverhill Firefighting Museum, 75 Kenoza Ave., the event will be Oct. 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and cost $10 for adults and $5 for children.
All attendees will double as contest judges for the evening to name the best chili from a local firehouse, individual and restaurant.
"It's quite a competition," said Cindy Graham, one of the event's organizers. "Every chili has its own individual charm."
Money raised from ticket sales will go toward developing new, interactive exhibits at the museum, primarily aimed at children. Last year, the fundraiser supported the purchase and installation of new lighting in the museum.
"(The cook-off) is our major fundraiser," Graham said. "It helps pay all our bills and pay for capital improvements. It's a fun family event for a good cause."
As in years past, Merrimack Valley firehouses plan to burn through the competition and find out who makes the best crock of chili in the region.
This year the big rivalry will be between Haverhill Firefighter Christopher Link, with his signature "Tex-Mex" chili, and current chili champ Andover Deputy Chief Al DelDotto.
Competitors outside the firefighters brotherhood should also expect strong competition, with the return of several fan favorites from previous events.
City Hall employee Maria Bevilacqua will return with her family's healthy chili mix made with alternative meats, such as buffalo, and organic vegetables.
"I always try and do a healthy chili," she said. "We always want to eat organic and healthy if we can."
Two Merrimack Valley Hospital employees taking part to bring some friendly competition include Kelli Brodie, reigning champ of the individual contest, and Jean MacDougall-Tattan.
"It's a nice time to see some old faces and meet some new ones," Brodie said.
She plans to return with her "Red Hot Kelli Peppers" chili and will give away the new Red Hot Chili Peppers CD.
Meanwhile, MacDougall-Tatten plans to return with her green chili made with pulled pork, black beans and green vegetables.
"It's very competitive, in a congenial manner," she said of the cook-off.
Those who want to take part without feeling the heat of the chili can enjoy door prizes, silent auctions and other giveaways throughout the evening.
IF YOU GO
What: Fifth annual Chili Cook-Off
Where: The Haverhill Firefighting Museum, 75 Kenoza Ave.
When: Oct. 15, 6 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children. Tickets available at the door