BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Chili night is an iconic event for the city of Beckley. It brings people together year after year, but 2020 is different.
A statement from city officials said “Chili Night normally attracts 5,000 to 10,000 people along the streets of downtown Beckley to enjoy chili and entertainment, with more than 40 chili vendors and 25 other vendors participating. So, the event is too large of a gathering to be able to do it safely this fall.”
But two people in the community made their own plan.
“We have a few entries already and more messages coming in. We’re going to have some judges,” Gary Vaughan said.
Gary Vaughan and Sasha Cantley will have underground chili night on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Brown Dog Bottom, which is an area underneath the Tickety Boo Mercantile store in Beckley.
The two organizers felt they needed to provide the community with a chance to get together.
“A lot of us, I think, are starved for the Camaraderie,” Cantley said.
They believe they can hold this event safely, following COVID-19 guidelines.
“We have the space here and we have the time to do it. So, we want to give a few of those people an opportunity to still get out and do the chili and have a little fun. But we’re keeping it to a minimum, where we can still socially distance,” Vaughan said.
Both say this was not to undermine the city’s decision, since they believe it was the right decision for the community.
“They could not have had it. It was obviously the absolute right decision,” Cantley said.
This was just an addition to the dark art show they have this time every year.
“Local artists will be coming in. Some of the art will be for sale,” Cantley explained.
The art show will start at 12 p.m. and underground chili night will start at 5 p.m. If you are interested in either, you can visit the event’s Facebook page.