Smile Politely

Beer and Chili Cook-Off Serves Up Good Times; Raises Legal Questions

This weekend hundreds of people gathered in the center of downtown Urbana for one common goal: to eat chili and drink beer. The 7th Annual International Beer Tasting and Chili Cook-off maintained its position as the second largest outdoor festival in Urbana, next to the Sweetcorn Festival. Two hours before the doors opened, almost fifty people had already gathered on the north and south sides of the downtown Urbana parking garage to secure their free 4 oz. cups. As 3:00 P.M. approached, the lines stretched around the corners of Race, Elm and Main. Julia Rietz, the Champaign County State’s Attorney, had a booth to serve chili but did not attend the event, preventing us from grilling her about the possibility of alcohol-related incidents stemming from the beer tasting festival. We took the opportunity to interview attendees about the festival and bar-entry laws in Champaign-Urbana.

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