A warm way to beat the winter blues

The eighth annual Frostbite Saturday chili cook off will feature chili in amateur and professional divisions at 22 different establishments in downtown Manistee this weekend. (File photo)

The eighth annual Frostbite Saturday chili cook off will feature chili in amateur and professional divisions at 22 different establishments in downtown Manistee this weekend. (File photo)

Manistee DDA presents Frostbite Saturday this weekend

MANISTEE — Everyone who lives in Michigan knows that by February, cabin fever usually sets in.

The Manistee Downtown Development Authority started Frostbite Saturday eight years ago to combat just that.

“What we’re doing is basically trying to get people to come out during the dead time of the year and spend some time out in our community,” said event chair Jackie Gielczyk.

From noon to 4:40 p.m. on Saturday, anyone can go downtown and taste chili at one of 22 different establishments at no cost. 

“We’re having them come down and go into our stores or restaurants in downtown Manistee and being able to taste some chili and then having some competition based around it,” said Gielczyk.

She said that the amateur and professional divisions of the contest make it a little different this year. First, second and

Little River Casino Resort will again donate blocks of ice to be carved this weekend for the Manistee Downtown Development Authority's annual Frostbite Saturday event. (File photo)

Little River Casino Resort will again donate blocks of ice to be carved this weekend for the Manistee Downtown Development Authority’s annual Frostbite Saturday event. (File photo)

third place winners will receive $100, $50 and $25 in Downtown Dollars, respectively.

“We also have a travelling trophy; that’s based off who gets the most votes,” said Gielczyk. “They get to display that trophy in their business for the whole year.”

Anyone taking part in the chili tasting can pick up score cards at any of the businesses participating in the chili contest. Chili is ranked on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. Ballots can also be turned in at any of the participating businesses or at the Boathouse Grill by 4:40 p.m. Winners will be announced at 5 p.m. at the Boathouse.

“(Businesses) are finding ways to get people in their stores. They found that if they are the ones that are providing the chili, that they’ll come in,” said Gielczyk.

Many businesses also provide music or other entertainment during the afternoon.

Another aspect of the event is ice sculptures. Little River Casino Resort has donated four blocks of ice; two will be preserved and two will be carved on River Street that afternoon near the Vogue Theatre.

Many businesses have been participating in the event for several years. Corky Rybicki, owner of Reusch Jewelers, said her business has won the contest several times (taking the trophy in 2010, 2011 and 2014).

“It’s a lot of fun. Tons of people come downtown; if it’s cold they don’t even care; nobody’s complaining. They have a blast,” she said. “Sometimes, we sell the recipe for a dollar and … there’s some charity the money would go to.”

Rybicki said often in January and February people don’t like to come downtown because of the weather, but the event gives them a reason.

“It brings kids; it brings adults,” she said. “Families come down, and they can walk down River Street and check out the stores and try some chili. Then they get to vote on it, and that’s fun too.”

Mary Nezki, of Snyder’s Shoes, said it’s a good “winter warmup.”

“In February most of us have all have cabin fever by this time,” she said. “It’s a nice fun day to get the town out and about and seeing fun, happy faces. It shows how welcoming we are downtown.”

Other past winners of the chili contest are Blue Fish Kitchen & Bar (2015, 2016) and Eddie Scott at Kellie’s Hallmark (2013, 2012).

For more information on Frostbite Saturday, visit visitmanisteecounty.com/local-events/frostbite.

Chili Contestants

Amateur – Homemade

  • Goody’s/Ryan Dittmar
  • Manistee Art Institute
  • NU2U/Stacey Helminiak
  • Happy Owl Bookstore/Sherri Wehrmeister – Ray’s Chili
  • Vogue Theatre
  • Northern Spirits
  • Gold & Silver Exchange/Jerry Johnson
  • Reusch Jewelry/Jim Pawlowski – Pabst Blue Ribbon Chili
  • Snyder’s/Dan the Shoe Man
  • Ideal Kitchen/Bob – Souf in your Mouf Pulled Pork Chili
  • Moving Spirits
  • Douglas Valley
  • Kellie’s Hallmark
  • Redeemed
  • Wahr Hardware

Professionals – Restaurants

  • Blue Fish

  • The Filmore

  • Famous Flynn’s

  • Rosie’s Place/Manistee Inn & Marina – Rosie’s Award Winning Chili

  • TJ’s Pub – Mike’s Birthday Surprise

  • Boathouse

  • House of Flavors

 

avatar

Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply