SHIPSHEWANA — The second day of the 16th annual Shipshewana Ice Festival and Chili Cookoff was filled with smiles on Saturday.
The celebrations included both the Chili Cookoff and Ice Carving competitions, as well as several ice carvings being placed for viewing near shops around town.
Rich Stoltzfus, owner of Smokehouse Grills and Supply, commented on the chili cookoff’s growth.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger every year and I’m not sure if we have a place here that’s big enough to handle it if it keeps growing like this,” Stoltzfus said. “It’s a good thing to be blessed, to have been very fortunate to be in a small town that values — you know, as a small town, we like to take care of people.”
Stoltzfus spoke about the number of cookoff participants.
“We’ve got nine this year, we had ten last year, and then I had a guy out again last night,” Stoltzfus said. “I don’t have a lot of space, but 10 or 11 is about the max I can do over there.”
Stoltzfus reviewed last year’s event.
“Last year we had 500 through,” said Stoltzfus. “That was not counting the kids, 12 and under are free.”
Dutchman Essenhaus employee Kevin Eyer reflected on the chili he prepared for this year’s cookoff.
“A little bit of heat, a little bit of sweetness, and some bacon and cornbread on top,” Eyer said.
Eyer shares his favorite part as a competitor in the cookoff.
“I just have fun with all the people,” Eyer said.
Tuesdee Monaghan, Chili Cookoff’s first-time competitor, shared her experience.
“After getting everyone’s feedback, this is the second time I’ve made this recipe,” said Monaghan.
JaAnn Wade, Elkhart, also attended.
“It was nice my husband, he loves chili and he enjoys coming to these,” Wade said. “My favorite chili was the Essenhaus.”
First-time attendee Anthony Upchurch reflected on his experiences.
“It was excellent,” Upchurch said. “I would come again, it was a lot of fun.”
Upchurch spoke about his favorite chili.
“Tuesdee Monaghan, it was more of a traditional chili with chilli beans and it was a little bit hotter – I really enjoyed it, I tried them all and one stood out the best,” Upchurch said.
Ice carver Matthew Patton, entering the ice carving competition for the first time, shares why he decided to enter this year’s ice carving competition.
“When I met Bud, he kind of got me into sculpting ice cream,” Patton said. “Pretty good, pretty cool – great to see everyone’s art. The best feeling is when people walk by and see it’s a Snoopy, that makes me happy.”