In what has become an annual kickoff to Richmond Hill’s Christmas festivities, thousands of people enjoyed the Chili Cook-Off in J. F. Gregory Park on a balmy evening Friday.
Although the temperatures hovered in the low-70s, a holiday “chill” was in the air as gallons of the festival’s namesake concoction were consumed.
“We had a great turnout. Everyone seemed to have a great time and the chili was delicious,” said Linda Phillips, assistant city clerk and events coordinator.
In addition to great food, Santa and Mrs. Claus held court for the youngsters while other children busied themselves on the pony rides, bouncy castles, hayride and caterpillar rides.
And then there was the chili. When the votes were tallied, Team Chili Bomb swept the night’s top awards by garnering trophies for the best chili, as judged by a team of chili “professionals,” and the People’s Choice Award.
Perna Construction won a trophy for best overall appearance for their booth.
And first runner-up went to Noch 8; second runner-up to Jonathan Haley; and third runner-up to the Richmond Hill City Center.
Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler got the evening’s events underway by welcoming everyone to the holiday fest and flipping the switch and lighting the city’s Christmas tree.
“Enjoy yourselves and welcome to the city of Richmond Hill,” the mayor said.
In addition to chili, the food midway featured everything from turkey legs to cotton candy to ice cream. Entertainment was provided, in part, by the Life Moves Dance Studio and country duo Cassidy Thacker and Robbie Sauls.
“The Chili Cook-Off gets bigger and better each year. It’s fun to see all the smiling faces. It’s a great way to give back to the community,” said event co-organizer Jennifer McCorkle.