ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys – Amateur and professional cook-off contestants and wannabe world champions representing seven U.S. states and Canada are busy testing their best recipes in preparation for the third annual Islamorada Chili Cook-Off. The competition is set for Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 18-19, at the Islamorada Moose Lodge, mile marker 81.

Tasting tickets to this International Chili Society–sanctioned event are to be available to the public. Attendees can taste 10 to 12 amateur entries Saturday, and choose from among 30-plus professional chefs’ recipes Saturday and Sunday after official judging closes each day.

Attendees also can place their all-important vote for their favorite amateur entries. Professional entrants compete for top honors in traditional, verde and salsa chili recipe categories, with winners chosen by a specially selected judging panel.

A trophy for first place and special awards for second and third places are to be awarded to both amateurs and professionals. Top winners among the professionals gain entry to the world championship chili cook-off.

In addition, honors await the entrant with the best-dressed booth.

Live musical entertainment is planned for the weekend, including country-western line dancing with the World Champion Chili Chicks and a special guest appearance by multitalented entertainer Brenda Starr.

The “heated” cooking competition is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

Proceeds help raise funds for the Islamorada Boy Scouts and Coral Shores High School Athletic program.

Event or entry details: 305-664-8120

Islamorada visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/islamorada or 1-800-FAB-KEYS

Social: facebook.com/floridakeysandkeywesttwitter.com/thefloridakeysyoutube.com/FloridaKeysTV

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