South Bethlehem hosted the 19th annual “Spring on Fourth! What’s on Third?” community festival and chili cook-off Saturday.
The warm and sunny weather helped produce a large turnout. Many attendees sported shorts and T-shirts and walked from restaurant to restaurant to sample different types of chili and beer.
Up to 30 venues located on Third and Fourth Streets participated in the event, including Molly’s Irish Grille, Full of Crepe, JP MacGrady’s, Déjà Brew and several others.
Participants were able to buy a “Chili Tasting Passport” for $5, allowing them to eat all the chili they desired at up to ten of the venues. The passports sold out quickly, as Lehigh students and Bethlehem residents alike said they had looked forward to the event for weeks.
Festival goers were also provided with a scorecard to rate the different varieties of chili, with the promise that the day’s winner would be announced at the end.
Several official judges selected their favorite as well. The people’s choice winner was The Bookstore, while the judges decided on Comfort Suites.
Jason Moody, ’16, said he was shocked by the attendance of the event.
“I was definitely not expecting this many people to come out today since finals start next week; it was a nice surprise,” he said.
When asked which chili was his personal favorite, Moody said, “It’s tough to pick just one; they were all delicious, but if I had to choose, I would go with Molinari’s.”
The event, which took place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., featured musical performances from many local artists. These included Andrew Kanas and Group, the Robin and Jim Seip Duo, Sunsets North, Chris Thomas, The Barrel House Brothers, Four Leaf Clovers and the Lynn Flick Trio.
Easton resident Melissa Gonzalez, who made the trip to South Bethlehem with her two sons to participate in the festival, said she thoroughly enjoyed the live entertainment.
“It was nice to relax and enjoy the music while eating all of this delicious food,” Gonzalez said. “I have come the last three years and do not plan on stopping anytime soon.”
In addition to the food, drinks and entertainment, local merchants offered discounts and ran sales throughout the afternoon.
Other events during the day included the Cops ‘n’ Kids Celebration of Reading, a Health Expo and the Lehigh Baker Institute’s Mini Maker Faire, which catered to invention and novelty.
Billy Moran, ’14, said he spent most of his time at the festival with friends at JP MacGrady’s.
“The chili passports were sold out, but you (could) still buy chili by the bowl,” he said. “This is my first time attending the event, (and) I had no idea it was so big. For our last week at Lehigh, my friends and I thought we’d try something different, and I’m glad we did.”
The event was sponsored in part by Lehigh University, as well as The Morning Call, Cops ‘n’ Kids, the Working Dog Press, U.S. Foods, Kistler O’Brian, Embassy Bank, and Homebase.
Story by Brown and White news writer Raphael Khallouqi, ’14.