Northern Michigan Events: The annual Chili Cook-Off returns to downtown Traverse City, January 14th. Northern Michigan restaurants bring out their best culinary skills to compete in various mouth-watering categories. (We recommend you come hungry to this one, folks!)

The 18th Annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off will once again give Northern Michigan a reason to come in from the cold and warm-up from winter's chill, January 14th at the Park Place Dome in downtown Traverse City. Thirteen of Northern Michigan's top restaurants will compete for awards in eight categories sure to please judges and crowds alike. With 1,500 in attendance at last year's event, chef's are sure to bring out their big pots for 2012!

Northern Michigan’s ultimate chili challenge takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m., giving guests ample time to sample local chef's special creations and vote for their favorites. This year's categories include 1, 2 and 3-alarm, white, vegetarian, no bean, seafood and ethnic as well as the coveted “people’s choice” award. Guests can dig into single bowls for $4, or for those serious chili-lovers, a sampler of all eight chilies will be available for $8. A cash bar will also be offered for those 21+.

“The  energy at the Downtown Chili Cook-Off is simply amazing. Area residents get together to support the community and local chefs compete for the ultimate bragging rights, truly a great way to spend a winter day,” says Marketing Director, Colleen Paveglio.

The Downtown Traverse City Association, comprised of over 200 local merchants, restaurants and businesses, hosts The Annual Chili Cook-Off. All proceeds from the event help support Downtown community activities, such as Friday Night Live, Celebration for Young Children, the Downtown Art Walk, holiday activities and many other free downtown events throughout the year.

Following is a sneak peek at the worthy competitors:

7 Monks

Chateau Chantal Winery & B&B

Lil Bo Pub & Grille


Morsels Bite Sized Bakery & coffee-providing cornbread morsels

Mt. Holiday

Oryana-Lake St. Café

Red Mesa Grill

Reflect, Cambria Suites

Scalawags Whitefish & Chips

Union Cantina

Wingers Sports Bar-Holiday Inn West Bay

Zakey Middle Eastern Cuisine

Northern Michigan's 18th Annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off is presented by Pepsi Cola, C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc, ABC 29&8 and WTCM.