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Crowds Flock To Find The Best Chili At Chilifest In Westport

Chilibomb serves up its Texas Peacemaker chili. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Michelle Howard, and son Ben, 12, sample the goods at Chilifest. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Chili simmers in a large pot. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Cindy Fitzgerald, of Westport, enjoys some chili. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Vendors dished out plenty of chili. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Ma's White Chicken Chili, from The Boatyard in Stamford, was a popular choice. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
The turnout is good for Chilifest. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman

WESTPORT, Conn. - Plastic spoons were flying and tongues were wagging at the pre-Super Bowl Chilifest on Sunday at Bedford Middle School in Westport.

Visitors judged chili in three different categories -- classic beef, creative, (anything not classic beef) and firehouse -- which refers not to hot chili but to a competition among area firehouses.

Michelle Howard and her son, Ben, 12, of Westport, were having a fine time sampling the different types of chili.

"It's terrific," said Michelle Howard. "We saw the signs and decided to come in. All the chilis have been delicious. We haven't tried the creative ones yet. But most of them are not too hot, and have a good consistency."

"I like the 'chili bomb'," added Ben. "It's sort of like classy chili ... a good flavor and a little kick." Ben smartly added that mom's chili "compares well" to the best of the chilis at the festival.

Event organizer Jim Keenan -- who also runs Norwalk's Chowderfest -- admired the crowd.

"It's a solid turnout," he said. "It's more of a tailgating crowd, people getting ready to watch the game, kind of a tuneup for the Super Bowl. We get a lot of people, and they're very passionate about chili."

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