First-ever downtown winter fest

MIDDLEBURY-Downtown merchants in Middlebury are gearing up for the town's first Annual Middlebury Winter Carnival and Chili Contest. The event is planned for Saturday, Feb. 21 and the public is invited to share the fun and enjoy lots of good food.

The downtown event also includes some added bonuses-free public skating, snowshoe races, an open house at the Middlebury Fire Station, dog sled demonstrations, a big bonfire, and a winter ball that will be open to folks of all ages.

Headlining the event will be a regional chili contest, taking place on the sidewalks of Main Street and Merchants Row, 3-5 p.m. Other towns, such as Rutland and Poultney, have discovered that chili festivals lure lots of people to their downtown areas, so now its Middlebury's turn try this success formula.

Downtown Middlebury Partnership officials said 20 area restaurants and several county fire departments will be on-hand to show off their chili skills, so don't forget the Maalox (we're kidding, of course).

Amateurs are welcome and encouraged to enter the contest. Professionals and amateurs alike will be judged separately by the public in eight categories including Best Beef Chili, Best Veggie Chili, Hottest Chili and Best Presentation.

Details about the event can be found at www.middbiz.org.

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