This story was corrected on April 18, 2013. An explanation follows the story.
Dozens of bubbling pots of homemade chili are expected to heat up Mount Airy Saturday as the town hosts the popular annual Main Street Heat Chili Cook-off.
About 30 contestants from across the country will compete in the International Chili Society-sanctioned event, sponsored by the Mount Airy Main Street Association and the 4 County Lions Club.
“The farthest [competitor] is a guy coming in from California,” said Sharon Baharoff, an organizer of the cook-off.
The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will feature live music, an all-day beer garden, a corn-hole tournament starting at 11 a.m., games and activities for children — and more than 100 gallons of chili.
All proceeds from the cook-off benefit the Mount Airy Mount Airy Main Street Association and the 4 County Lions Club.
Sixty volunteers will judge chili entries in the three different categories — red chili, chili verde and salsa — at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10076, at 111 South Main St.
Contestants can win cash prizes of $50 to $1,000 and will be eligible to compete at the International Chili Society World Championship in Palm Springs, Calif., in October.
“There’s some real good chili in the competition,” Baharoff said.
Chili-tasting kits will be available for sale for $5, allowing the buyer to sample each of the recipes in the competition. The kit includes a cup, a spoon and a nut that buyers will use to vote for the People’s Choice Chili.
Local restaurants will also compete for the coveted title of Mount Airy’s Best Chili, with samples available for purchase after the winner is announced. The winning restaurant will be given a banner to display for the year.
In past years, more than 5,000 people have descended on Mount Airy’s downtown for the cook-off. Ellie Bonde, event organizer with the Mount Airy Main Street Association, said a similar turnout is expected Saturday.
“I think [the cook-off] is going to be amazing, especially because everyone is ready for good weather, and being able to go outside,” Bonde said.
During the event, visitors can also participate in the cook-off’s chili recipe search.
Chili ingredients will be hidden in 24 participating businesses that visitors can find. Once they have found all the ingredients and completed the recipe, participants will be entered into a raffle, where they have the opportunity to win a complete chili cook-off set, including a camping stove, cooking pot and chili ingredients.
Along with the chili, about six vendors will be selling other food such as barbecue and kettle corn.
Live music acts including Nickel-Plated Angel, Wally Worsley, and Darla Jean & the Somethin’ or Others are scheduled to perform. About 20 craft and merchandise vendors will also be selling items, such as jewelry and barbecue grills.
“It’s just a neat celebration atmosphere,” Bonde said of the event.
Free parking will be available at the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Co.’s carnival grounds at 1008 Twin Arch Road, with a shuttle to take visitors to the festival up until 4:30 p.m.
Correction: The times of the cookoff and shuttle service were incorrectly identified in the story.