Plenty of mild chili, cold beer and warm fun went into the 22nd annual WMVY Chili Contest last Saturday. The fundraiser raised approximately $21,000 for the Island’s charitable organization, the Red Stocking Fund, more than last year’s event.
A huge tent covered the parking lot and gave shelter at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs. Live and piped music was almost continuous. Bands played simultaneously, one in the tent and the other inside the PA club. World-rocking music came from a Vineyard favorite, Entrain, while a Mariachi band performed south of the border music.
“We had our usual great time,” said Kerry Alley, co-chairman of the Red Stocking Fund. Asked about this year’s increased success, Mr. Alley responded, “We had a bigger tent.”
Attendance easily was in the hundreds. And while it was cold outside, the interior tent was warm. Chili enthusiasts from the Cape and Islands participated. Off-Island contestants came from as far away as Carver and as close as Woods Hole.
Winners in the professional category were: 1, Corner Five Surf Shop of Vineyard Haven; 2, Little Red Smokehouse, of South Carver; 3, West Falmouth Market.
Amateur category: 1, Bob Costello; 2, Brian Athearn; 3, Maura Long.
MVY Awards: best veggie chili, Leeside; best presentation, Little Red Smokehouse; hottest chili, Steve Jordan; is it really chili, The Lookout.
Barbara Sylvia, treasurer for the Red Stocking Fund, said that the event raised somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 more than last year. “It was a grand event. It went so smoothly,” she said.
Admission was $25 per person.
The money raised by the contest will be put to use in March, Mr. Alley said. For many of the Island’s disadvantaged, March is a difficult month.
Mr. Alley said that the fund plans on spending $10,000 for food vouchers. People in need will get vouchers valued at a minimum of $50. Families will get considerably more.
While the Red Stocking Fund is mostly known for providing clothing and gifts to children during the December holiday season, Mr. Alley said the organization passes out money and gifts throughout the year.
“At times we get desperate calls even in the middle of the summer. We will get calls from Department of Social Services or Martha’s Vineyard Community Services about families in need,” he said. Remaining funds otherwise will be used as seed money at the end of this year.