If fall's arrival has you hankering for a bowl of chili, you're in luck.
Greater Newburyport's top professional and amateur chili makers will put their recipes to the test in three contests planned for the area.
Two of the contests welcome home chefs and chili aficionados to serve up bowls of their favorite mix of spicy ingredients, while the third will pit fire departments from across the state against each other in a cook-off for bragging rights. Fans of chili will have the honor of sampling the entries and picking the crowd favorite at all of the competitions.
So start perfecting your recipes and readying them for the judges. Here's the details of the upcoming chili throw-downs:
Chili Con-Carnival in Newburyport
The Grog restaurant in downtown Newburyport hosts its third annual Chili Con-Carnival Cook-off to benefit three local food pantries on Saturday, Oct. 2, from noon to 3 p.m.
Area restaurants and home cooks are invited to put their chili to the test. There is no fee to enter. The restaurants that have already signed on to the competition include Green Bean Deli, Loretta, Michael's Harborside, Not Your Average Joe's, The Grog, The Port Tavern, Riverside Cafe, The Rockfish, Stella's of Middle Street and The Thirsty Whale, all in Newburyport; Amesbury Sports Park in Amesbury, and Bucciarelli's Butcher Shop & Deli and Hobo's Cafe, both in Salisbury.
The event will also feature live music performed by the local band Joppa Flatts and door prizes donated by local restaurants and retailers.
The event takes place under a tent in The Grog parking lot at 13 Middle St. Admission is $10. Children under 12 are welcome for free.
Proceeds will be shared by Our Neighbors' Table in Amesbury, Pettengill House in Salisbury and Community Services of Newburyport. The public is also encouraged to bring items to donate to the three programs' pantries. Monetary contributions are also welcome.
For a contest entry form, a list of items needed by the pantries or more information, visit www.thegrog.com/chilicookoff10.htm or call 978-465-8008.
Firefighters face off for chili cup
The competition among the area's firefighters and public safety agencies heats up again as Amesbury Firefighters Local 1783 hosts its sixth annual chili cook-off fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 16, from noon to 4 p.m. in the town parking lot on Friend Street.
Proceeds from the event will support the Shriners Hospitals for Children's Transportation Fund, which helps bring children from all over the world to the Boston hospital for care.
Some Like it Hot cook-off in Rowley
Rowley's ninth annual Some Like It Hot chili cook-off is set for Saturday, Oct. 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. at St. Mary's Parish, 202 Main St., Rowley.
At least 20 versions of chili, including red, green, meat and vegetarian options, will be judged by a panel of five local celebrities. Samples of chili will come with corn bread, hot dogs, vegetables and dessert. Ipswich Ale, Stone Cat Ale and Mercury soda from Mercury Brewing Co. will be available for purchase.
The Three Amigos Trio will supply the entertainment, and there will be craft activities for the kids, raffles and door prizes. The First National Bank of Ipswich is helping the cook-off go green by supplying biodegradable paper goods.
Tickets are $15 or $25 for couples, with children under 12 welcome for $5, and are available in Rowley at the Rowley Public Library, Old Town Bread Company and Salt Marsh Antiques. Proceeds will benefit programs at Rowley Public Library.
The deadline for contestants to enter the fray is Oct. 15. For an entry form and complete rules, e-mail Janet Peabody at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rowleylibrary.org.