ASHLAND -- More than 20 downtown Ashland businesses will be serving up smiles at this year's Souper Chili Walk-Off.
The Ashland Young Professionals have organized this socially-distanced, in-person event on Friday, Feb. 19, where select local businesses will distribute samples of their unique chili or soup recipes for the public's enjoyment.
Each business will provide a crockpot of one-of-a-kind soup or chili recipes and disperse them to participants in individual containers.
“We encouraged each business to do a regular-sized crockpot served with Dixie cups filled just enough for a bite or two," Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce membership and marketing director Emily McKinley said.
"We’re hoping that a normal batch of soup is enough for everyone."
She anticipates at least 30 crockpots, as some businesses asked to make more than one type of chili. Central Ohio Group Insurance Agency Inc, LK Home Décor, Whoopsie Daisy Bowtique, and HER Realtors are among the participating businesses.
Participants will be able to judge each dish with a scorecard, and prizes will be awarded to businesses with the best chili and soup recipe. The event will take place from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Nick Maggelet of the Ashland Young Professionals' planning committee came up with the idea.
"Our planning committee got together last month," said McKinley. "Our Ashland Young Professionals have been requesting in-person events. We thought that we could try something that’s spaced-out.”
The event is designed so that participants can wear masks except while they are sampling the stews.
Attendants can pick up their scorecard at Advantage Marketing at 14 W Main Street or at the Ashland Board of Realtors at 107 E. Main Street, Suite C. Each scorecard will come with a list of partaking businesses and their respective recipes. The card will also indicate whether a soup or chili is spicy.
Individuals who submit a completed scorecard will also be entered in a drawing to win a prize.
“I’m encouraging people to bring business cards because you never know who you’re going to meet and what connections you might make," said McKinley. “I want this to be a fun event that goes off without a hitch.”
Pre-registration is not required, but roughly 50 members of Ashland Young Professionals are expected to participate.