Labor Day events often include art shows, county fairs, festivals, parades, and community or individual cookouts. This is not the case in Hanover, PA. While many townsfolk will be having cookouts at home or Codorus State Park over the holiday weekend, the major event here is the Annual Hanover Chili Cook Off. This year marks the 16th annual event, which is always held on the Sunday before Labor Day (September 4th this year) at the Good Field Complex on N. Forney Avenue from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., rain or shine. Advance tickets can be obtained from the Appalachian Brewing Company, Guthrie Memorial Library, The H.A.R.T. Center, Holiday Inn Express or KClinger’s Tavern for $6 per person, or at the gate for $7 per person. Admittance is free for children and military personnel with ID.
The Hanover Chili Cook Off is sanctioned by the International Chili Society (ICS) and PA State Championship Cook Off. All recipes must abide by ICS standards and cooks must become members of ICS in order to submit their chili in the taste-testing competitions. There are 4 main cooking/taste-testing competitions this year. The PA Keystone Cup Chili Competition, open only to Pennsylvania residents, must have a blend of any kind of meat with beans, pasta or vegetables. The ICS Red Chili Competition , open to all cooks, can contain any kind of meat, red chili peppers, spices and any other ingredient except beans and pasta, which are forbidden. The Chili Verde Competition requires any type of meat, green chili peppers and spices with no beans or pasta, and is open to all cooks. The ICS Salsa Competition is open to all cooks and has no rules for ingredients used. Winners will receive $50-$500 and automatic entry into the ICS World Championship Chili Cook Off held in Manchester, NH.
Besides food, ice cream and beverages, there will be fun for people of all ages, including face painting, raffles and performances by Watson the Magician, Skeeta the Clown and Randini the Remarkable Juggler throughout the day. Musical entertainment will be provided by Baltimore band Kelly Bell Band plus two local bands, Flat Top and Six Cents.
Event organizers have registered over 60 chili cooks from 6 states and expect over 10,000 people to attend this year’s event. The Hanover Chili Cook Off is a popular event providing a relaxing day filled with good food and entertainment. This year’s goal is to raise $50,000. Proceeds are designated to go to the Friends of Codorus State Park, Guthrie Memorial Library, the Hanover/Adams Rehabilitation and Training Center, the Hanover Area Council of Churches and several families in need.