Big Chili Contest scheduled for March 25

From left, David Henry, Black Dog head chef Bill Hart, and Laura Beckman show off the Black Dog's chili, which took first place in the professional category. —Sam Moore

The annual Big Chili Contest, typically held in January to combat the dead of winter chill, will be moved this year to Saturday, March 25, 2017.

The contest, hosted by MVY Radio to raise money for the Red Stocking Fund, features chilimakers from the Island, Cape Cod, and beyond. Over 2,000 attendees usually purchase tickets to taste the best that local restaurants and committed amateurs can cook up.

This long-running Vineyard tradition has raised over $300,000 for the Red Stocking Fund, an Island nonprofit that provides food and clothing for families in need for the holidays.

As always, the contest will be held at the Portuguese American Club in Oak Bluffs.

MVY Radio’s Greg Orcutt said a number of factors influenced the decision to move the date. “We’re hoping that the change in date will help increase the number of chilimakers,” he said in a press release. “We’ve found that many restaurants who’d like to participate are closed during January.”

Weather has also played a role in recent years, as possible windy conditions have kept some attendees from boarding ferries, and icy conditions have made putting up the event’s tent a challenge. “With increased contestant participation and increased attendance, we can raise more money for Islanders in need,” Mr. Orcutt said.

For additional information visit the Big Chili Contest on Facebook.