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Welcome back, Chili Fest

The Southside Arts District celebrated the 25th annual Chili Fest Sept. 18 in South Bethlehem on Third and Fourth streets. People from all over the Lehigh Valley and beyond came out to eat and judge chili from over 20 different vendors.

The coveted titles of The Celebrity Judge’s Top Choice and The People’s Choice Best Chili were awarded with a chili-shaped trophy and bragging rights. Participants bought passports for $20 to taste the different chilis and a vote for The People’s Choice Best Chili.

Other activities of the festival included live music from various bands and children’s entertainment with the Cops ‘N’ Kids program at Northampton Community College Fowler Family SouthSide Center. The winner of The Celebrity Judge’s Top Choice was The Social Still. The People’s Choice Best Chili was awarded to the duo team of Rise above Hair and National Sokols.

This year’s festival was pushed back to September due to Covid restrictions. Chili Fest is usually held in April during the Spring on the Southside festival.

Steve Collins, Daniel Chesh and Adrian Chesh try the chili with a hint of pineapple from Godfrey Daniels on Fourth Street.
Lehigh University staff of Adrienne McNeil (left) and Carolina A. Hernandez (right) enjoy chili from Molly's Bar and grill.
Patrons sampling the submission of Molly's Bar and grill were serenaded by Douglas Kaetz with his acoustic guitar.
PRESS PHOTOS BY LAKISHA BONNELL Lehigh University students bring family members to line up to participate in this year's Chili Fest tastings.
Lehigh University student Ryan Chang (center) along with his parents Jeffay (khaki shorts) and Elaine Chang (black shorts) taste the meatless vegan chili of Roasted on Fourth street. “I still prefer meat in my chili,” said Elaine.
Sticking to their Southern style food, The Bayou serves up bowls of chili with a side of cornbread.
El Jeffe's chili is served on a tortilla-like edible bowl with various choice of toppings.
Winner yet again, The Social Still served chili with options for very hot or mild to the many participants.
Didi Ortiz, Joaquin Perry and Challin Perry enjoy their very first Chili Fest since recently moving to the Lehigh Valley.
Madalyne Sanchez, Miranda Amill, Tanya Soto, and Milagro Gonzalez stop in front of new restaurant F&A Grog House on their journey to pick their favorite. The ladies liked the unique “sweet” taste from the new establishment.
The Wonton Soups closed out the music performances of the day before the winners were announced.
The Beautiful Distortion start their set on the Main Stage of Chili Fest located on the Greenway in Southside Bethlehem.
“The People's Choice Best Chili” winner was the duo team of Rise above Hair salon and National Sokols social club. The Celebrity Judge's Top Choice winner, The Social Still, was not present at the awards presentation.
Winners were given a chili pepper trophy for their achievement.