chilifest 2017 crowdsRaised more than $14,000 for the Henry Hudson Tri-District

PHOTO:  The crowds enjoyed food, beverages and entertainment all day and night.

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – A little early rain didn’t dampen the spirit or the purpose of the 13th Annual Chilifest held on Saturday, September 30th by the Atlantic Highlands Front Porch Club. Dubbed “Lucky 13”, the event raised over $14,000 for the Henry Hudson Tri-District Education Foundation ( and other local causes.



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chilifest 2017 judgesPHOTO: Atlantic Highlands Mayor LeGrice confers with fellow judges Augie Carton, Brent Sonnek-Schmeltz, Andy Clurfeld, Dr. Compton

This is the third year the event has been held at the Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club, with over 1,000 people attending what began as a backyard gathering 13 years ago. “We ended up with a brisk and beautiful day for the ‘Fest with some amazing chili entries, great drinks, and rockin’ bands.” said Charlotte Magee, Chilifest Chairperson. “There’s nothing like partying under a tent on the beach with hundreds of your neighbors, with the Manhattan skyline as your backdrop. Everyone looks forward to Chilifest all year – both adults and kids.”

chilifest 2017 fpc organizersPHOTO: Charlotte Magee Chilifest organizer, with Benson and Sarah Chiles, founders of the Front Porch Club

There were 43 entries to the chili competition, with contestants vying to win the title in categories including Best in ‘Fest, Most Exotic, Best Vegetarian and People’s Choice. Atlantic Highlands resident, Wendy Corbino, proudly brought home the Grand Prize trophy this year, after it went to an out-ofcounty winner last year. Victoria Forte and Brian Boms took second and third place, respectively. Cleo Davidson was awarded Most Exotic and nine year old Eliza Chiles, the youngest Chilifest winner on record, won Best Vegetarian. Attendees voted via text for the People’s Choice Award, which went to local businesswoman Renee Dorski, owner of Jus Organic on First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands.

chilifest 2017 winner wendy corbinoPHOTO: Charlotte Magee, Grand Prize Chilifest winner Wendy Corbino, Benson Chiles

This year’s judging panel included Atlantic Highlands Mayor Rhonda LeGrice, Augie Carton, Erin Brinley, Andy Clurfeld, Brent Sonnek-Schmelz and Dr. Susan Compton, Tri-District Superintendent of Schools.

Attendees danced the day – and night – away under the Chilifest tent, with music from The Elastic Waist Band, KUL d’Sack and Cranston Dean Band, and enjoyed beer from local Carton Brewing and special drinks from Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum including “13th Floor”, “Skull Candy” and “Grog in the Fog”.
There were plenty of activities for the kids too, with face painting, crafts and a special live interactive show by ScienceTellers.

chilifest 2017 vegetarianPHOTO: Eliza Chiles, winner of Best Vegetarian and youngest ever winner at Chilifest

Once again, this year’s ‘Fest organizers donated leftover food and drink from the day’s activities to the Atlantic Highlands Food Pantry, an important service to the local area. The food filled the Pantry’s freezers and will be available for local residents in need.

Benson Chiles, Front Porch Club co-founder, said “We are so proud of the support we get every year from the community and all the local businesses who partner with us to make the event such a great success for our local charities.” This year’s support came from Premier Sponsors Carton Brewing, Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum, Montecalvo & Bayshore Family of Companies and Howley Financial Group, as well as Diamond sponsor A. Kupper PE.

chilifest 2017 peoples choicePHOTO:  Benson Chiles, with Madison Ulczak and Renee Dorski, People’s Choice Award winner

Platinum Sponsors were Bay Village, Blue Bay Inn, Copper Canyon, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Gaslight Gastropub, and Timbur LLC.

Gold Sponsors included Atlantic Bagel Company, Atlantic Highlands Chamber of Commerce, Beautycounter – Charlotte Magee, Brightwork Events, Bungalow Road, City Sports, Colorbar 51, Eastpointe Health & Fitness, Fair Mountain Coffee Roasters, Hulafrog, Ignitable Fitness, KC Design, Kunya Siam Thai restaurant, Page Wellness Center, Randstad Professionals, Resources Real Estate – Mary Lynn Hughes, ReUnion RX, Seastreak, The Outsourced Office, Two River Community Bank, Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club, Bethany Bearmore Photography, Gateway Press, JCY Design and Jersey Shore Apparel.

chilifest 2017 facepaintingPHOTO: Neve Kastritsios enjoying some facepainting

The event was also made possible by dedicated volunteers from the Atlantic Highlands Front Porch Club, the Knights of Columbus Lombardi Council 6552, Henry Hudson Regional School’s Key Club, Brownie Troop 907, Girl Scout Troop 1659, soccer coach Tony Sherlock, the American Littoral Society, and the Henry Hudson Tri-District Education Foundation.

The Front Porch Club was formed 15 years ago in Atlantic Highlands and offers a host of opportunities for new and existing families in the area: playgroups, book clubs, holiday cocktail hours, and other community events. To sign up to receive the free Front Porch Club newsletter, visit

The Henry Hudson Tri-District Education Foundation’s mission is to support innovations in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math programs in addition to supporting athletics at the Highlands and Atlantic Highlands schools.

For Additional Information:
Charlotte Magee, – [email protected] (646) 234-7222

For more information about HHTDEF and their events or to donate, visit, email [email protected] or find them on Facebook.

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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...