Chili tastings help to refine the palate, bring a community together, and boil the magic out of any beans that might open a gateway to giant country. Sample blue-ribbon fare with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get a chili-tasting outing for two at the 7th Annual Chili Cookoff and Street Festival in the Grand Central District in St. Petersburg (up to a $40 value). The festival will be held on February 18, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., with the chili cook-off taking place 11 a.m.–3 p.m. The outing includes the following per person:
- 2-ounce tasting of each chili entered in the contest
- One vote for favorite chili in the People’s Choice category
- Two cookbooks with all entrants’ chili recipes<p>
The Grand Central District Association, a nonprofit pack of entrepreneurs that promotes local commerce, calls upon businesses, restaurants, and citizens to stir up bubbling pots of spicy sustenance at its 7th annual chili cook-off. Amid a bustling street festival, attendees swap Groupons for bracelets that entitle them to 2-ounce samples churned together according to recipes compiled in a take-home cookbook or presented to chefs during desert voyages. While chewing and discussing spice selections, customers meander through booths laden with arts and crafts, beer, wine, and other noshes as live music floats throughout the festival. After fully sating cravings, patrons cast votes for their most beloved chili in the People’s Choice category, and judges slap ribbons on entrants, awarding such qualities as “Most Aerodynamic.” A portion of the ticket proceeds go to St. Pete’s H.O.T., an organization that assembles care packages and arranges welcome-home and farewell gatherings for members of the U.S. military.
St. Pete Oktoberfest
The third annual St. Pete Oktoberfest, hosted by the Grand Central District Association, is St. Petersburg's largest beer festival, featuring craft-beer tastings and live music. Attendees can tipple samples from dozens of breweries, including Bell's Brewery, Dogfish Head, Sam Adams, Angry Orchard, and many others. A home brewer's challenge on Friday tests out homebrewed beers against old favorites, so home-beer enthusiasts can test out their recipes on actual people instead of the wild deer that show up in their backyards.
In addition to the extensive selection of microbrews and iconic beers, the two-day street festival also features live music, including performances from singer-songwriter John Kelly on Friday. Saturday's music merges rock, blues, jazz, and funk, with performances from Florida-native Damon Fowler, Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, and Serotonic.