Chili crawl competitors prepare for Ice Time Festival

Published 2:54 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2024

DOWAGIAC — Seven restaurants – including one newcomer – will bring the fire to Dowagiac’s Ice Time Festival, Saturday, Feb. 3, as they compete to be the public’s favorite in the festival’s annual Chili Crawl.

Returning competitors include The Baker’s Rhapsody, The Eagles Lodge, Front Street Crossing/COA, Oak & Ash BBQ, Wood Fire Trattoria and Wounded Minnow Saloon.

Lutz’s Drive-in will be stirring the pot this year. New to the competition, the business does not have a location in downtown Dowagiac, but will be on the ballot and will be serving their chili recipe at a the Snow Professional Building’s Community Room.

The Chili Crawl will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All but one Chili Crawl location are located on South Front Street, downtown Dowagiac. Participants can ride the free shuttle bus from downtown to The Eagles Lodge. The public can sample each restaurant’s chili for free, and then vote for their favorite on ballots which are available at each site.

Corporate underwriters of the Ice Time Festival include Clark Chapel/Starks Family Funeral Homes, Dowagiac Credit Union, Dowsett Chiropractic, Family Fare, Lyons Industries and Who Knew Consignment.

The festival’s ice carving begins early in the morning on Front Street downtown. Activities for families are featured throughout the day, beginning at 10 a.m., and participating specialty shops will host drawings, sales and specials.

For a full schedule of events visit and its Facebook page.