Beckley’s 30th annual Chili Night will be held on Saturday, October 2 along the streets of downtown Beckley from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Due to Covid-19, the scaled-back event will feature around 15 to 20 chili participants, along with 22 other exhibit/vendor booths, and a variety of entertainment. Chili Night has become a fall tradition in southern West Virginia, and even though attendance may be down this year, event organizers hope that residents will enjoy this outside event.
Participants in the chili competition include restaurants/caterers, non-restaurant businesses, and organizations. In addition to 15 regular chilies, some of the participants are also preparing spicy and/or specialty chili recipes. Panels of celebrity judges will select their favorite chili in the three categories, along with the most unique specialty chili and best tasting spicy chili, and hometown favorite. Awards are also presented to the most attractive booth and most exciting booth. The public can vote for the Peoples’ Choice with voting coins distributed with admission. The $5 admission includes five sample tickets and a voting coin. Only 1000 strips of tickets will be sold this year due to less chili booths. Other booths will offer drinks and other food (such as funnel cakes, roasted corn, BBQ, baked goods and more), along with pop-up shops and informational booths.
Advance ticket sales will be available at the Beckley Exhibition Mine – cash or credit card. The mine hours are 10 am – 5 pm, Tuesday-Saturday. Only cash sales will be accepted at ticket booths during the event. Even with advance tickets, attendees are encouraged to arrive by 7 p.m. on event day as the limited chili supplies may go fast. During the event, ticket booths will be located on Neville Street near Word Park and by event headquarters on Main Street, selling tickets from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., or while supplies last. Chili Night shirts will be sold at the event headquarters at 125 Main Street.
Most of the chili vendors will be set up along Neville & Main Streets, while other vendors will be in Shoemaker Square, the Word Park parking lot, and parts of Heber & Main Streets. The streets will be blocked at 2:30 pm for set-up to begin. Free visitor parking will be available at the Beckley Intermodal Gateway and metered parking spots are free on weekends.
In addition to tasting chili recipes, attendees can enjoy a variety of musical entertainment at several stages (see schedule). Due to Covid concerns, the carnival rides will not be available this year. The Raleigh County Prevention Coalition is organizing an Art Show in many of the storefront windows. An All-Star Wrestling Show hosted by Steve New on his lot on Main Street begins at 7 pm.
The organizing committee encourages vendors and attendees to take Covid precautions recommending vaccines, masks and social distancing. Organizers request that attendees do not bring pets, skateboards or coolers to the event. The event normally attracts a large crowd, so for everyone’s safety, dogs will not be allowed. Also, the police department encourages parents with children under the age of 15 to please accompany their children during the event.
Chili Night is organized by the Beckley Events Committee and the City of Beckley. Jill Moorefield of Beckley Events says “Our committee is grateful for the community’s support of this event. The chili participants put a lot of effort into making their chili and decorating their booths. The money raised from ticket sales assists our committee to be able to offer events throughout the year. We appreciate the event sponsors – City National Bank, The Register-Herald, WVNS-TV, WJLS 56AM and 99.5FM, WVVA-TV, McDonalds, 103CIR, 105.9 WTNJ, GROOVY 94.1, 93.5. THE BUZZ, WWNR 620 AM 101.1 FM and WOAY-TV, plus volunteers from our committee and youth council.” For more information, visit www.beckley.org or “Beckley Events” on Facebook.
Chili Night – October 2nd Entertainment Schedule:
Word Park gazebo: 5:00 pm – Verdeant Band (Chloe & Bryce Painter)
6:00 pm – Emily Grace
6:30 pm – James Perdue (local American Idol contestant – made Top 100)
7:00 pm – Pink Casino
Shoemaker Square: 5:30 pm – Acoustic Fusion
7:00 pm – Quiet Enough (80s rock band)
Main Street Stage: 5:00 pm – Shawn Benfield
Main Street – Steve New’s Lot – 7:00 pm – All-Star Wrestling Show
Neville Street – in front of The Raleigh Theatre – a few HGTA Theatre group pop-up singers
In storefront windows around downtown – Raleigh County Prevention Coalition Art Show
Federal plaza area or by the cardinal sculpture on Heber Street: Around 7:50 – 8:00 pm – Awards ceremony