Middlebury carnival, chili festival slated

MIDDLEBURY - If you're not a skier, snowmobiler, sled dog or arctic hare, Vermont winters can get downright dreary. But fear not fellow cabin-fever sufferers and residents of Margaritaville, thanks to the Better Middlebury Partnership the first Annual Middlebury Winter Carnival and Chili Contest is bound to chase away the winter blues. The only catch is that you just have to hang on to your sanity until Saturday, Feb. 21.

The downtown Feb. 21 event includes free public skating, snowshoe races, an open house at the Middlebury Fire Station, dog sled demos, a bonfire and a winter ball for all ages.

Headlining the event will be a regional Pro/Am chili contest, taking place on the sidewalks of Main Street and Merchants Row, 3-5 p.m.

The Partnership claims 20 area restaurants and several county fire departments will be on-hand to show off their chili skills. And don't forget the Tums.

Amateurs are welcome and encouraged to enter. 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.

All entries must be received by Saturday, Feb. 7. Registration requirements can be found on the Better Middlebury Partnership website, www.middbiz.org.

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