BATAVIA – The summer is about to heat up during the 22nd annual Illinois State Championship Chili Cookoff, which will be held at noon July 26 at the Batavia Riverwalk, Houston Street and North Island Avenue.
Admission is free, and the event is open to the public. The event will have a slightly different format this year, as the Batavia Park District and the Batavia Chamber of Commerce are running the event this year.
In the past, contestants had not been able to put beans in their chili because of Chili Appreciation Society International rules. This year, organizers have added a new category – homestyle division, in which the no-bean rule doesn’t apply.
“You can put anything you want in it,” Batavia Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Holly Deitchman said. “We wanted to make it a community event that wasn’t as intimidating.”
Those who enter in the homestyle division must prepare their chili onsite. A restaurant division also has been added to this year’s competition.
Cooks still can enter the competition, Deitchman said. Information is available by going to the Batavia Park District’s website, www.bataviaparks.org.
Chili lovers will be able to sample their creations. The cost is $5 for a tasting cup, and proceeds will benefit the Batavia Teen Center and the Batavia Chamber of Commerce.
O’ Sole Mio also will be at the event.
“They will be serving gelato to cool people’s palate as well,” Deitchman said.