Few destinations can compare to Orlando's combination of moderate winter weather and family-friendly attractions. This beautiful city is home to some of the largest and most popular theme parks on the planet including Disney World, Universal Orlando, and Legoland. Anyone in search of activities beyond the major attractions should try taking an airboat tour of the Everglades or seeing the newest exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art.
The Orlando Chili Cook-off has brought the best chilis in the Southeast United States to the people of Orlando for almost a decade, and this year’s event will take place February 17 at Festival Park. Attendees will find more than 100 chili booths with competitors ranging from home cooks to professional chefs. The Cook-off is sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) which means the top three chilis (voted on by judges and attendees) will advance to the Terlingua International World Chili Championship. Paid admission allows attendees to sample a variety of chilis, and if patrons are still hungry, local food trucks will serve some tasty culinary creations as well. Those of age can visit the beer and wine bars for some delicious libations, and an adult lemonade stand will serve Tito’s and lemonade. Local DJ’s will spin the 1’s and 2’s for everyone to enjoy, and a kids area will have a spectrum of games and activities for all ages. The event will also feature the World Chili Eating Championships, which was won by Joey Chestnut last year, and he will return to defend his title this year. ResortsandLodges.com interviewed Rachel Hoyle to learn more about this spicy Orlando extravaganza.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
RH: This is the 9th year the event.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
RH: We expect over 15,000 attendees!
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
RH: It draws all sort of event goers, but mainly families.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
RH: Cooks travel from all over the region to bring you a taste of their chili. This festival is a CASI sanctioned event, meaning that those who win the cook-off in the CASI category are qualified to move on to the national championship.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
RH: Activities include but are not limited to:
Hundreds of Chilis to Taste
Beer and Wine Bars
An Adult Lemonade Stand (Tito's & Lemonade) Raising Money for Childhood Cancer Awareness and Support
Live Music on Stage All Day Long,
A Massive Kids Zone with Inflatable Games
Unique Vendor Booths
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
RH: Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Miki Sudo are two major league eaters who will compete at the World Chili Eating Challenge! Our event is the start of the competitive eating season, and both received several first place awards from other competitions. Other professional eaters travel from all over the world to compete in this competition as well.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
RH: If the complementary chili isn't enough, there will be a selection of food trucks serving a variety of meals and snacks!
RAL: Tell us about the overall atmosphere?
RH: It's an upbeat, family-friendly, outdoor festival atmosphere!
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
RH: The festival brings awareness to the local businesses that sponsor the event in a fun and playful way.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
RH: This event supports Alex's Lemonade Stand, which is a foundation that raises awareness and helps families dealing with childhood cancer.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
RH: Buy the family festival pack and enjoy a beautiful day in Festival Park! Taste chilis crafted by chefs from all around the region, and don't forget to vote for your favorite. You'll also witness Joey Chestnut, the #1 competitive eater in the world, scarf down more chili than you could ever imagine, to kick off the competitive eating season. Join us for all the great activities while we raise money for a good cause!
For more information about the Orlando Chili Cook-off, please visit the event website.