(Nov. 30, 2018) Local restaurants will showcase their chili during the 21st annual Hots 4 Tots Chili Cookoff at the Greene Turtle in West Ocean City, Sunday, Dec. 2.

The Cookoff raises funds and collects toys for Worcester County G.O.L.D. (Giving Other Lives Dignity), a local nonprofit helping children, adults and families in need during the holiday season.

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Gathering for a photo among the dozens of toys for, from left, are Chad Rogers, Sandy Sipes, Joel Feldman, Jeff Heiser and Boz Jefferson during the 20th annual Chili Cookoff at the Greene Turtle in West Ocean City, Sunday, Dec. 10. About $2,500 was raised for Worcester County GOLD, a local nonprofit helping children, adults and families in need during the holiday season. Iron Horse won the cookoff. Tequila Mockingbird placed second and also received the Best in Show Award. Pickles Pub came in third.

“Worcester County G.O.L.D. is a huge organization that does so much for people in need in the county this time of year,” said Chili Cookoff Organizer Joel Feldman of the Horizon Group Team at Keller Williams. “Through Worcester G.O.L.D. you could adopt a family … There’s so many things you can do to help people and brighten up their spirits for the holidays.”

Restaurants will provide samples of their chili, ranging from spicy, hot to mild in the audience-judged competition. Attendees will vote for their favorite recipe to determine which restaurant will take home the top prize. First place will receive $250, second place and best in show will each take home $100, and $50 will be given to third place.

“[Best in show] has nothing to do with your chili, it’s how you decorate your area and how you dress yourselves, [whether in] costume or otherwise,” Feldman said. “We don’t want people to show up with a black tablecloth and say, ‘Here’s our chili.’ We want them to get into it, especially during the holidays.”

Music will be provided by DJ BK, and drink specials will also be available.

Last year, hundreds of people attended the event and donated a plethora of toys. About $2,500 was raised for Worcester County G.O.L.D.

Iron Horse won the 2017 cookoff. Tequila Mockingbird placed second and also received the Best in Show Award. Pickles Pub came in third place.

“We lost count on how many toys we had,” he said. “Last year we filled up a [police] paddy wagon.”

For 19 years, the Parrothead Club of Ocean City had sponsored the Chili Cookoff and when the group disbanded, Feldman and his team offered to take over the event.

Chad Rogers, the general manager of Greene Turtle West, and Boz Jefferson, of Movement Mortgage, are the key components of the competition, Feldman said.

“Chad, the manager at the Greene Turtle, said, ‘Hey, what can we do to keep this thing going,’ so my team came in as a sponsor financially and help work it,” he said. “[But] Chad and his staff, they’re the ones who really took this on. Twenty-one years ago, he said, ‘We’re going to open our doors and shut our business down for the whole day.’ The whole restaurant is taken over.”

West Ocean City Greene Turtle, Iron Horse, Pickles Pub, Micky Fins, Ocean 13, the Original Greene Turtle, Shotti’s Point, Ristorante Antipasti and Tequila Mockingbird are all slated to compete. Restaurants can still sign up for the competition until the end of today, Friday.

“Any restaurants that wants to get in they can still get in,” Feldman said. “It will be a good time. The Ravens game will be on for Ravens fans, as well as every [other] game. We don’t want to interrupt anyone’s football time.”

The cost of admission is $10 or a new, unwrapped children’s toy.

The Chili Cookoff will take place from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at the West Ocean City Greene Turtle on Route 611. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m.

Restaurant representatives can sign up to participate in the Chili Cookoff by contacting Feldman at Joel@HorizonGroupRealEstate.com or call 410-365-7344.

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