This weekend, don’t think winter chill. Think winter chili.
The 28th Annual Big Chili Contest, sponsored by WMVY radio, begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs (snow date is Sunday). Nearly two dozen entrants are expected to attend, said Greg Orcutt, WMVY general manager.
The contest is a major fundraiser for both the Red Stocking Fund and the P.A. Club’s scholarship fund. Last year ticket sales raised more than $34,000 for the Red Stocking Fund. All tips go towards the P.A. Club.
The event is largely sold out, but some tickets will be available at the door, said PJ Finn, WMVY program director. Tickets will also be sold at Quick’s Hole Tavern (formerly the Lee Side) in Woods Hole on Friday beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30.
There are three different judging events going on throughout the chili festival and one trophy is reserved for the fan favorite division.
“They hand you a spoon when you come to the door,” Mr. Finn said. “That’s your spoon for the day, don’t lose it.”
WMVY deejays will also make the rounds. Bill Narkiewicz, host of Blues at 8, has led the WMVY judges for almost 15 years. Judges deliberate on everything from best presentation to the coveted Steve Jordan Hottest Chili award — so named because Mr. Jordan won the category so often that his recipe was retired.
Jenny Johnson, host of TV Diner on NESN, leads a group of chili tasters as well. Ms. Johnson’s group awards cash prizes to the best recipes.
The Big Chili Contest draws people from around New England and beyond. Mr. Orcutt said he’s already heard of someone making the trip from Colorado. Hotel rooms fill up months in advance, CapeAir has special off-season flights, and Island taxicabs stand by to transport chili lovers to the PA Club tents.
Mr. Orcutt recommended bringing dancing shoes to the day-long event. As in previous years, mariachi band Mariachi Lindo will perform, along with the Baha Brothers and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish.
“This is a tradition, and people get really excited about it,” Mr. Orcutt said.