IGNITE the Winter

Jerome Richardson and Emily Parker, from Parker's Grille & Tap House, serve chili at IGNITE the Winter in Auburn in March 2015.

The Citizen file

The fifth edition of IGNITE the Winter may be the downtown Auburn winter event's fullest yet.

Presented by the titular young professionals group and the Downtown Auburn Business Improvement District, the festival starts at 5 p.m. Friday in Exchange Street Plaza and the adjacent Genesee Center, Auburn Public Theater and city parking garage.

“We offer the community an inexpensive family-friendly outing, right in the heart of our prosperous downtown. Please come enjoy the showcase of our fabulous local eateries, breweries, wineries and musical talent," said BID Assistant Director Jesse Kline in a news release.

Here's everything that's happening:

Food and drink

IGNITE the Winter's annual chili, soup and chowder cook-off, sponsored by Generations Bank, will return with a crowded roster of servers.

Vying for the BID's People's Choice Award, as well as $100 awards for each style of food, will be:

• The Auburn Rotary Club

• The Aurora Inn

• BeauVine Chophouse & Wine Bar

• Buffalo Wild Wings

• The Cayuga Waterfront Festival

• The Fargo Bar & Grill

• Izzo's White Barn Winery

• Moe's Southwest Grill

• New Hope Mills

• The Old Erie Restaurant

• Parker's Grille & Tap House

• Relay for Life

• Tabatha's Restaurant

• Tyburn Academy

This year's judges will be Mayor Michael Quill, City Councilor Jimmy Giannettino, The Citizen Publisher Rob Forcey, Cayuga County Clerk Susan Dwyer and Finger Lakes Radio personality Paul Szmal.

Some participants in the cook-off, such as Moe's and New Hope Mills, will offer additional food options, as well, and local wine, cider and craft beer will be for sale.

Live music

• Grateful Dead tribute band Fresh Guac will begin when the event does, and will be followed by progressive rock cover band A.D.D.

• Inside Genesee Center will be Perform 4 Purpose, a local nonprofit that brings together music students and veteran performers to entertain in support of good causes.

• At 8 p.m., Modus Operandi will perform inside Auburn Public Theater as part of a BID-sponsored Afterglow party. There is no cover, and a cash bar will be available.

• Also performing in downtown Auburn after IGNITE the Winter will be The House Dogs at 9 p.m. at Moondog's Lounge, 24 State St., and Solar Garlic at 9:30 p.m. at Prison City Pub & Brewery, 28 State St. There is no cover for either show.

Art

The Auburn Photography Club's "Circle of Confusion," featuring work by members Rich Bellamy, Joshua Davis, Sherene LaMontagne and more, will be on display both at Auburn Public Theater and the Seward House Museum. (It is also on display at the Cayuga Museum.)

Family activities

Inside Genesee Center will be:

• Free caricatures by Brad Cole

• Face painting by the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency's Head Start program

• Planting flowers with the Auburn Beautification Commission and Woodmen Life

• Making buttons with Teddy Mountain

• A drawing activity with Fidelis Care

• A financial literacy game with Generations Bank

• An ice fishing game with ABC Cayuga

• The Cayuga County Sheriff's Department's Safe Child ID System

• An art mural activity with Kevin Burke

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IGNITE the Winter

Kevin Burke lets Megan Laderer pet Max the German shepherd Friday at the 2015 IGNITE the Winter festival.

There will also be activities in Genesee Center and/or tables from:

• Auburn Party Rental

• East Hill Family Medical

• Farmboy Graphics

• The Girl Scouts

• Majorpalooza

• NY Life

• The Right to Run 19K

• The YMCA-WEIU

Also, on Exchange Street, there will be an ice sculpture demonstration and horse-drawn wagon rides.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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Features editor for The Citizen.