Gettin’ ‘chili’ with it

By on January 23, 2019

The “hottest” party of the winter is less than a month away.

The 2019 Lititz Fire & Ice event is fast approaching. During the weekend of Feb. 15 – 16, they’ll be lots of fun and things to do for all ages. On Saturday, stop by the Warwick High School for the annual Lititz Lions Chili Cook-off, kid’s carnival, and vendor fair.

The event runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. In order to sample the chili, buttons are needed, and are available for $10 at the following Lititz businesses: Dosie Dough; Bomberger’s store; Aaron’s Books and Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill. Buttons, which are limited to 1,500 are also available at the door on the day of the event assuming they don’t sell out before that.

Each year, chefs raise money for their favorite non-profits and compete to be winners. Last year, the Gilbertson family took home the “People’s Choice” prize; and Lititz United Methodist Church raised the most money in 2018, earning $900 for their efforts.

Buttons are now on sale–and are going fast –for the 2019 Lititz Fire & Ice chili cookoff.

“Visitors will have more than a dozen chili samples to try, and vote for their favorite chili and also donate money to their charity of choice,”said Kerry Nye, who helps organize the popular event.

Funds raised through the sale of buttons is earmarked for the Lititz Lions Club to pay for costs and overhead associated with staging the event. While the organization does have to pay the bills first, they do also donate money to each chef’s cause.

“Buttons normally sell out very quickly so I would encourage people to purchase buttons,” added Nye. “We do save some for entry the day of the event, but they may be limited depending on pre-sells.”

Lititz Lion Jeff Usner and his wife Sara are also helping co-chair the event this year. He states that organization for the popular event begins in November. This will be the couple’s fourth year assisting with the event which takes alot of cooperation from many parties to make it a reality.

“Invitations are sent out to chefs from previous years in early January,” Usner said. “It’s alot of fun, and it’s something to do in the middle of winter.”

Just ask Lion Mark Hough, who’s a ‘seasoned’ veteran of the event ­ he was the winner of the very first chili cookoff back in 2006 which took place at Linden Hall. That year, the entire festival attracted about 5,000 to the downtown. Last year, that number swelled to an estimated 40,000.

Logo designer: Donna Felton

This year promises to be even bigger and better than before ­ look for the footprint to been extended as Main and Broad Streets will be closed both Friday and also Saturday to allow ample room to stroll the streets and enjoy all the town has to offer. And be sure to come hungry: as in previous years, there will be a host of food trucks to tempt any palate imaginable, not to mention all of the downtown eateries and shops to peruse. Aside from the ice sculptures that will adorn the sidewalks that weekend, also look for cutting edge lighting and amazing pyrotechnics provided by Lititz-based companies like Stray Production Services and Pyrotek Special Effects.

To learn more about Lititz Fire & Ice, visit

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at or 717-721-4423.

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