chilifest crowd 2

chilifest crowd 2Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. The Atlantic Highlands Front Porch Club hosted its 10th Annual Chilifest on Saturday, September 27 at the historic Strauss Mansion in Atlantic Highlands. With dozens of chili cook-off competitors and 500+ attendees, the Front Porch Club raised over $10,000 to benefit Henry Hudson Tri-District Education Foundation and other local causes. The schools intend to use these funds to support innovative curriculum in the sciences, math and the arts.

Founding president of the Henry Hudson Tri-District Education Foundation, Sarah Chiles said, “We are so grateful to the Front Porch Club and the community of Atlantic Highlands for supporting a new vision for our schools that will prepare our students to be critical thinkers. Tri-District Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Susan Compton, and her talented team are working so diligently to take our schools to the next level of excellence in science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts.”


Chili cook-off entrants competed for prizes in four categories, including Best in ’Fest, Most Exotic, Vegetarian and People’s Choice. This year’s grand prize went to two-time grand prize winning duo Neil Effron and Ross DiMiceli, beating out second place winner Brian Duncan and third place Tiffany Pirkowski.


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Judges noted “lots of meat” and “deep flavors” in Effron and DiMiceli’s chili entry. Said Marie Jackson, owner of The Flaky Tart and multi-year judge “This was the toughest year yet to judge – all the chilis were outstanding.”

A former Chilifest title holder Allison Tevald took the award for Most Exotic, while Best Vegetarian went to family team of Penny, Erinn and Tim Hill. Also repeating from 2013 were Neil Effron and Ross DiMiceli for the People’s Choice Award, determined by Chilifest attendees via text-messaging.

chilifest charlotte magee sarah benson chilesPHOTO: Event organizers, Charlotte Magee, Sarah Chiles and Benson Chiles

Chilifest Planning Chair, Charlotte Magee said, “I still can’t believe it’s been 10 years. It’s incredible: this event started as a small backyard barbecue, and has now become a tradition that hundreds of Atlantic Highlands residents look forward to every year. Chilifest represents the magic of our town and sense of fun and community that we all share. Over 40 Atlantic Highlands businesses joined us this year in support of our great town and a great cause.”

This year’s judging panel included Mayor Fred Rast, Tridistrict Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Compton, Marie Jackson of The Flaky Tart, Zeek Peabody of Soul Kitchen, Augie Carton of Carton Brewing and 2013 Chilifest Champion Sean Horan.

Hunterdon County’s dynamic Citizens Band Radio headlined this year’s music lineup with an opening performance by Edison, NJ duo Jake & Dan.

Chilifest was made possible through the support of many Atlantic Highlands businesses: Premier Sponsors were Carton Brewing, Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum, Trump National Golf Clubs at Bedminster and Colts Neck; Platinum Sponsors included Blue Bay Inn, Copper Canyon and Cliffhanger Productions.

Gold Sponsors included several local businesses and organizations: Atlantic Highlands Arts Council, Atlantic Highlands Chamber of Commerce, Atlantic Bagel Company, B.E.S.T. Business Enhancement & Training Services, Beautycounter by Charlotte Magee, Central Baptist Church, Christine’s Italian Ristorante, Colorbar 51, Dentistry by Dr. Christopher, Eastpointe Health & Fitness, The Flaky Tart, Gateway Press, Happy Tails Veterinary Clinic (Drs Rovere, Sima and Haupt), Hulafrog, Jaspan Brothers South, Jenny Yannarelli Design, JSA Play, Kunya Siam Thai Restaurant, Page Chiropractic Wellness Center, Resources Real Estate, Seastreak, Sherman Jewelers, Soccer Post, The Painted Frame, Top Tomato and Zumu Websites.

Silver Sponsors included: Bethany Bearmore Photography, Cloud Kissed Kids Store, Eyes On First, Fair Mountain Coffee, Freedom Pottery, Gianni’s Delicatessen, Postens Funeral Home, Pure Liquid Salon, Whole Foods Middletown and Zoe’s Vintage Kitchen.

chilifest crowd 1

Event volunteers included members of the Atlantic Highlands Front Porch Club, the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society, the Knights of Columbus Lombardi Council 6552, professional face painter Lisa Kmak and Henry Hudson School’s Key Club.

The Front Porch Club
The Front Porch Club (FPC) is a forum for Atlantic Highlands residents to socialize with neighbors, interact with the community and discuss new ideas and issues. The FPC exists to improve the quality of life in Atlantic Highlands by bringing people together online and in person.
For further information please contact:
Tim Hill
Front Porch Club
[email protected]

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Avatar of Allan Dean

Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...