Chili Cook-Off

The Vienna Township Neighborhood Watch started the Vienna Chili Cook-Off, which was originally held in April and October of each year.

Warren Clower of the Vienna Fire Department and Roseann Kennedy of the Vienna Township Neighborhood Watch prepare for the April 2006 chili cook-off.Image from the Vienna Historical Society's collection.Photo donated by Roseann Kennedy.

Past President Roseann Kennedy recalls the origin of the Vienna Chili Cook-Off:

"It was a challenge by then Police Chief Dave Ovesny, to Fire Chief Richard Brannon to see who could make the best chili. It was held in the Fire Station meeting room, not out in the bays. Only the fire and police departments made chili. People tasted each one and voted on their favorite."

Judy Klepfer and Mary Swift of the Vienna Township Neighborhood Watch prepare the dessert table for the October 2012 chili cook-off.Image from the Vienna Historical Society's collection.Photo donated by Roseann Kennedy.
Pam Clower of the Vienna Township Neighborhood Watch prepares for the chili judging for the October 2015 chili-cook off.Image courtesy of Christine Novicky.

The April chili cook-off was replaced by an Amish dinner in 2010, leaving only the October date for a chili cook-off.

Advertisement for the 2017 Vienna Chili Cook-Off.Image courtesy of Christine Novicky.

Currently, the Vienna Chili Cook-Off is held annually on Columbus Day and dates back to at least 2005. The chili is made and donated by volunteers in the community. Judges are selected to test the chili before the cook-off to determine a winner in the following categories: Mild, Medium, and Hot.


Chili Cook-Off Judges, October 2009.Image from the Vienna Historical Society's collection.Donated by Roseann Kennedy

After the judging, community members are invited to purchase chili and dine in the firetruck bays at the fire department.

Vienna Chili Cook-Off, October 2017.Image courtesy of Christine Novicky.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 chili cook off was held as a drive-thru event at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department.

Drive-Thru Vienna Chili Cook-Off, October 2020.Image courtesy of Christine Novicky.

The event resumed as an in-person event in 2021.

Contributors: Shirley Wittenauer, Roseann Kennedy, & Christine Novicky


Updated 10/11/2021
"Vienna Chili Cookoff," Warren Tribune-Chronicle, October 15, 2013.
"Judging Chili Is No Easy Task," Warren Tribune-Chronicle, October 9, 2012.
"Vienna: Chili Competition Heats Up," Warren Tribune-Chronicle, October 12, 2010.
"Arresting Taste: Police Take Title in Competition Benefitting Two Departments," Warren Tribune-Chronicle, October 14, 2008.
"Is It Hot In Here? No, It's Chili!", Warren Tribune-Chronicle, April 15, 2008.