HENNIKER — Chili lovers will have an opportunity to taste test dozens of new chili recipes this weekend at New Hampshire’s ultimate chili contest.
“We have vegan chili, chicken chili, hot chili and blue-ribbon chili, just to name a few,” said Ruth Zax, one of the event organizers and former president of the Henniker Rotary Club.
The 17th Annual Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest will take place from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Sunday on the grounds of Pats Peak, 686 Flanders Road. Chili tasting will begin at noon and conclude around 3:30 p.m.
“We have 44 chili makers set to participate this year — 14 restaurants and 30 amateurs,” said Zax.
Participants will compete in select categories, and a panel of professional judges will decide which recipe takes home the top prize.
“In addition to the professional judging, there will be a people’s choice award division as well. Anyone who comes to the festival has two voting tickets to select their favorite dishes,” said Zax.
New this year is a hot pepper eating competition. Participants will be given five minutes to eat as many jalapeno and habanero peppers as possible, with the chance to win a cash award or prize ribbon.
The pepper-popping competition “is a brand new idea for us, and we are really excited about it,” said Zax. The contest will kick off at 3:45 p.m.
Winners from the chili competition will be announced at 4:30 p.m.
Aside from the vendor midway, there will be a car cruise-in, kids zone, live music and other attractions.
“People come back year after year because it is so much fun,” said Zax. “This is fun for all ages. It is a great event and the venue is spectacular. There is so much to do all afternoon.”
About 2,000 people are expected to attend the event, which is sponsored by the Henniker Rotary Club.
Cash prizes totaling $1,300 will be distributed to the best chili makers in the region.
The event is aimed to promote community spirit and pride, bragging rights for the winners and charitable dollars for local, regional and international rotary projects, said organizers.
For more information about the event, visit chilinewhampshire.org.