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Head of the Lakes United Way
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2016 Chili Cook-Off

THANK YOU for your support at our 25th annual Chili Cook-off!!!

  • The 25th Annual United Way Chili Cook-Off took place on Thursday, September 15, 2016. With over 1000 people in attendance, the community really came together to make this the best chili cook-off event yet! Here are some facts and figures from this year's event:

    • The theme for our event this year, "Chili By The Lake!" was introduced through social media with a faux forecast by KBJR reporting on the unseasonably cold weather by the lake on September 15, 2016. Mayor Emily Larson came on screen to explain to Adam Clark that it wouldn't be CHILLY by the Lake- it would be CHILI by the Lake! See the video here.

    • For the first time, Chili tickets were pre-sold online, and buying an exclusive "Chili By the Lake" t-shirt (designed by Shane Bauer of Laughingstock Design) included a FREE chili ticket! Want to get your own "Chili by the Lake" t-shirt? Visit the Happy Space Store:
      Store Hours: 10-5:30, Mon-Sat
      324 W. Superior St. (Medical Arts Building)
      Duluth, Minnesota 55802
      P:218-461-2288     E: laugh@laughingstockdesign.com

    • We had 32 chilies entered with 3 first-timers: Just Kids Dental, Duluth Huskies Baseball, and Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity.

    • Three vegetarian chilies battled for the title of "Best Vegetarian Chili." An entry from Duluth Central Labor Body featured spicy chocolate chili with so many topping options, people's eyes boggled!

    • A Fan Favorite returned after a one-year hiatus - Duluth Fire Department was back and their new "The Sweet Jerk" chili was a hit!

    • We had 9 entries that registered as "Other." What does that mean? "Other" is anything OTHER than traditional (beef) or vegetarian chili. This year, other included the aforementioned chocolate chili, as well as wild boar chili, white chili, green chili, seafood gumbo chili, smoked turkey, chorizo sausage chili, andouille sausage chili, and one "Hunter's Special" that included 15 different kinds of meat!

    • United Way Chili is a completely "green" event with 100% recycled cups, spoons and napkins. The compost from the 25th annual Chili by the Lake weighed 1,100 lbs.  

    • Although the competition was fierce, our professional judges awarded the following recognitions:
Most Unique: Valentini's served by Lutheran Social Services
Hottest-Yet-Edible: Little Angie's Cantina
Vegetarian: Fitger's Brewhouse

Professional Division:
1st Place: Valentini's served by Lutheran Social Services
2nd Place: Essentia Health - Lakewinds  
3rd Place: Green Mill 

Amateur Division:
1st Place: Minnesota Power
2nd Place: KBJR Television
3rd Place: Courage Kenny Northland

  • For the first time, we integrated technology and voting! Attendees could vote for their favorite tasting chili or the booth with the best decorations via TEXT-TO-VOTE! We had over 1,000 votes submitted by text or the traditional "write-in" method. And the winners were (drum-roll please...)
People's Choice
Minnesota Power
Spicy Spirit
 Whole Foods Co-op

Thirty-four participants competed for Chili honors in 2015 and the winners were. . .

People’s Choice Valentini’s and Lutheran Social Services

Professional Division
 1st Place: Green Mill  2nd Place: Essentia Health Catering   3rd Place: DECC 

Amateur Division  1st Place: Minnesota Power    2nd Place Salvation Army - Duluth  3rd Place: Duluth Area Family YMCA

a tie: Farley’s Family Restaurant and Little Angie’s Cantina

ARC Northland

Most Unique:
Duluth Area Family YMCA

Spicy Spirit:
Whole Food Co-op  

Thank you for your support of this event! 

Click Here to see pictures from 2015 Chili Cook-off

Click Here to see pictures from 2014 Chili Cook-off

Click Here to see pictures from 2013 Chili Cook-off

Click Here to see pictures from 2012 Chili Cook-off   

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