Chili, chili and more chili (35 different types to be exact) were all vying to take first place in the 14th annual Chili for Charity event in Fairhope.
“It’s a community event that really mirrors the kind of organization that Ecumenical Ministries is,” Darlene Haas, a board member for Ecumenical Ministries, said.
The event is the group’s annual fundraiser. They use the funds for their outreach programs that include meals on wheels, two food pantries and emergency aid to people in emergency situations.
“[The event is] affordable, it’s for families and children and everybody can just come out and have a great time and have lunch,” Haas said.
And it’s a great chance for a little friendly competition among local businesses and community groups.
“I hear out there people are saying ‘Oh, you’ve got to go get the white chicken chili,’” Beth Zaricor, a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church, said. “So I don’t know how many others are out there, but people are talking about ours.”
And while some tried to ‘wow’ the judges with untraditional chilies, others took a more “pure” approach.
“It’s 94.73 percent pure,” Mike Lions said in his best Walter White imitation. “When you use the best ingredients and the best cooking methods, it comes out in the mix every time. It’s the best.”
Lions’ group, Fairhope Sunset Rotary took fourth place with their “Breaking Bad” themed booth and chili. The “best” though ended up being the chili courtesy of Boy Scout Troop 70. They were followed up by Bayside Academy Girls Service Club and Wintzell’s Oyster House in Fairhope.
The judges seemed to lean toward the traditional recipes this year.
“If you tried something really, really different, you got extra points for me for trying something different,” Chris Elliott, one of the judges, said. “But all in all, traditional got it.”
“I kind of liked the spice in it, cause it gave it a little extra flair, so people liked it more,” Jonathan Ford, one of the boy scouts, said of their prize-winning chili.
Jessie’s Restaurant came in fifth place and the “Friends of Tucker Dorsey” won the people’s choice award.