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Ithaca Commons, Tompkins County

Ithaca Celebrates 15th Annual Chili Cookoff

The weather was fittingly frosty Sunday, but that didn’t stop the hundreds of community members, students and visitors who spent the afternoon on the Commons for the 15th Annual Great Downtown Ithaca Chili Cookoff.

This year, more than 45 types of chili were up for tasting.

To celebrate the festival’s 15th anniversary, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance partnered with the United Way of Tompkins County and set a goal to raise $5,000 for the Hunger and Food Security programs in the community. An anonymous donor agreed to match each dollar that was raised at Sunday’s drive.

With so many chilis to taste, it’s easy to forget that the vendors have their eyes on the coveted Chili Trophy.

Mia’s Restaurant took home the first place prize for “Best Meat Chili,” with Longview’s M&M chili coming in second and Cayuga Medical Center’s “Medicine Man” chili and Greenstar Oasis tying for third.

Taste of Thai Express picked up the “Best Vegetarian Chili” prize, with Moosewood coming in second, and Mahogany Grill’s pumpkin white bean chili taking third.

This year’s Chili Festival marked the last event on the Commons before construction is set to begin in April.

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