Discover Downtown Merrill will hold its second annual Chili Blast on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. This year’s event will feature 11 chili cooks competing for the bragging rights to Merrill’s best chili.
Contestants will be spread out throughout the downtown area, set up in front of businesses on E. Main Street and E. First Street. East Main Street will feature Jim Beem in front of Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe, Jackie Gessler in front of Merrill Karate Club, Kurt Wendt in front of Ace Hardware, Drew’s in front of Courtside Furniture, Rita Poyer in front of Curves and Robin Woodside in front of St. Vincent de Paul. On East First Street, Dawn Swan will be serving chili in front of First Street Coffee Station, Rick Scott in front of Skippers, Mike Grunenwald in front of Blooming Wishes, and Marla Van Wie in front of Touch of Health. The winner will be determined by popular vote.
In addition to the chili contestants, a caramel apple booth will be set up in front of Ace Hardware and the River District Foundation will be serving chili dogs in the parking lot of the City Center building.
Tickets are $5. Advance tickets are available at the Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce. On Saturday, tickets will be available at the caramel apple booth.
Last year’s Chili Blast sold out of all 150 tickets. This year, contestants have been asked to make an additional gallon of chili, upping available tickets to 185.
D’Lacey Haight, one of the event’s organizers, said she’s excited to see the Chili Blast expand by two teams and one city block this year.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said.