KALAMAZOO, MI — The pandemic didn’t stop a 16-year tradition in downtown Kalamazoo.
Hundreds of people flocked to city’s chili cook-off to relish the sunny weather and the opportunity to taste homegrown chili recipes.
While many annual events have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cook-off took extra safety precautions and transitioned to an outdoor event held on Saturday, Feb. 27.
Businesses set up small tents in front of their storefronts to serve chili. Participants were asked to wear masks near the tents.
The Kalamazoo Mall and South Burdick Street were closed to allow people to roam around more easily.
The unusual year meant a smaller slate of chilis to sample. The cook-off had 19 restaurants and other businesses participate in this year’s event, compared to the 44 chilis offered in 2020.
“All the safety protocols that Kalamazoo has taken made us want to come out more. It’s great to support all the local businesses in Kalamazoo. Tt’s a great family outing,” said Christina Fleenor of Portage.
Saugatuck Brewing Co. Kalamazoo won the Judge’s Choice Award for the downtown Kalamazoo chili cook-off.
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