Chili abounds on not-so-chilly day

NEWTON FALLS — Despite the unseasonably warm and sunny weather Saturday, the chili was plentiful at the 28th annual Newton Falls Chili Cook-Off.

Twenty-one cookers and eight vendors participated and dished out a variety of chili recipes from chicken chili to chili flavored with pineapple. The cook-off, organized by the Newton Falls 4th of July Committee and previously the Newton Falls Fire Department, raises funds for the village’s Independence Day fireworks display.

Everyone enjoys chili a different way. For instance, Mayor Lyle Waddell said don’t hand him a bowl of soupy chili.

“I like a meaty, thick chili that’s not real hot,” Waddell said.

But then there’s chili purists like Andy Harvey who scoffed at the idea of a bowl of mild chili. If his name is attached to it, you better believe it will come with ghost peppers and red habaneros, although for children and those seeking a mild version, Harvey also makes a batch sans heat.

“Chili is not supposed to be like spaghetti,” Harvey said as he stirred a pot of his ‘Chili con Carnage’. “It’s supposed to have some heat to it.”

Others like Jodi Harvey say the sweeter the better, which is why she used sweet Italian sausage, sweet corn, vegeteables and pineapples for her recipe.

“The pineapple sweetens it and adds another level of flavor,” she said.

Newton Falls at-large Councilman Tarry Alberini and Councilman Phillipe Beer, 4th Ward, wouldn’t divulge what goes into their chili.

“It’s top secret,” Alberini said.

Beer said chili is all about love and hard work.

“It takes lots of elbow grease,” Beer said. “We are just trying to keep from chopping our fingers off.”

David Rapczak, who is running for Newton Township trustee, had a recipe label that caught the eye: “Baby Maker Chili 6.” But why baby maker? And what’s with the six?

As Rapczak put it, he and his wife eat a lot of chili and they have a lot of kids.

“I’ve got five kids and one on the way,” he said.