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Cook-off stews up stiff competition
Chili-Santa 3074
Bo Shami sits on Santas lap to tell his Christmas wishes Friday as Mrs. Claus watches other children during the 10th annual chili cook-off held at the pavilion in J.F. Gregory Park. (Crissie Elrick)

Piping-hot chili lured hundreds of people to the pavilion in J.F. Gregory Park on Friday when more than a dozen chili vendors served up samples of home-cooked chili during the city’s 10th annual Chili Cook-Off.
Cook-off committee member Amanda Styer deemed the event a success with all vendor booths rented out for the evening, including arts and crafts vendors, games, face painting and more.
“I thought it was very successful and very good this year. The lights were an added bonus for everyone, and they seemed to enjoy it,” she said, referring to the city’s first-ever Festival of Lights.
Just before the cook-off got under way, Mayor Harold Fowler flipped a switch to turn on thousands of twinkling lights that wrap around trees, park buildings and the city’s Christmas tree.
The light show will be on display nightly through Dec. 31 from 6-10 p.m. Fowler said he was glad the lights were added, and is already looking forward to next year’s light show.
During the chili cook-off, judges Fowler, Mike Styer, Mark Snavely and Karen Infinger made their way around the pavilion to sample many varieties of chili and named Notch 8 BBQ as the Grand Prize winner.
Cast Iron Café was named First Runner Up, and Jonathan Haley, chef of J’s Triple Shot Chili, took Second Runner Up.
Haley, who sold out of his chili before the event was over, said he had entered his recipe for the first time.
“I came last year and had such a good time I decided I was going to join this year,” Haley said. “Richmond Hill is a great town to live in for things like this.”

Read more in the Dec. 7 edition of the News.

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