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Richmond Hill beckons holiday spirit
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Workers at the Smoking Gun chili booth, left, hand out chili dogs Friday during Richmond Hills 11th annual Chili Cook-Off held under the pavilion in J.F. Gregory Park. - photo by Crissie Elric

South Bryan residents got an early taste of the Christmas spirit over the weekend when the city hosted its annual Chili Cook-Off and Hometown Holiday Parade followed by the Offshore Outlaws’ annual Christmas on the Ogeechee Boat Parade.
The weekend’s events began Friday with the 11th annual Chili Cook-Off, where about a dozen chili vendors cooked up their signature recipes in hopes of taking home various prizes.
Hundreds of people combed the pavilion to scope out the chili recipes, like Jay and Belinda Montelbano and their 6-year-old son, Jacob.
“We come every year,” Jay Montelbano said, noting his favorite part was the chili samplings.
“It’s like the community all comes together, it has such a small town feel,” Belinda Montelbano added. “I love it.”
The Montelbano family was sampling some chili from the Coastal Derby Empire, a new roller derby team from the area that attended the cook-off for the first time.
The festivities continued on Saturday morning, when dozens of marching band, floats, cheerleaders and others made their way down Ford Avenue and past City Hall in Richmond Hill as part of the 16th annual Hometown Holiday Parade.
This year’s parade theme was “Toys on Parade” and many floats donned life-sized LEGOs, Rubik’s Cubes, Etch-a-Sketch, Twister and other popular toys and games.
Buffy Hankinson was at the event with her daughters, Hannah and Mary Charles, who were looking forward to seeing the floats and Santa.
“We come every year — we wouldn’t miss it,” she said. “It’s a family tradition to come.”
Rick Mallick and wife Missy Mallick were at the event with their son, Mike, and dog, Chief. Missy Mallick said they came to see their daughter march in the parade with the Windsor Forest Marching Band but noted they were also excited for the holidays.
“It’s the first parade of the Christmas season,” Rick Mallick added. “We’re excited for the holidays.”
The parade will be aired on WGSA throughout the Christmas weekend.

For more photos of the holiday events, go to

See more, including a list of parade and cook-off awards, in the Dec. 5 edition of the News.

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