PARKERSBURG- Point Park was a chili lovers dream on Saturday during the third annual Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-Off.
Jill Parsons, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley, said Saturday's event was sponsored by the Chamber and the Parkersburg Area Jaycees and this year's entries more than doubled last year's turnout of chili chefs.
"There were 39 entries," she said. "We have everything from white chili to very spicy chili. We have them made with game and vegetarian."
Photos by Jeff Saulton
Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell, left, and his wife, Debbie, center, serve up his entry in the mayors contest to Ruth Bryan of Marietta.
This year's event also featured a competition among four area mayors, featuring the mayors of Parkersburg, Belpre, Vienna and North Hills vying to see who made the best chili.
Saturday's judges tried the varied submitted chili recipes in a blind taste test, so they didn't know whose chili they were tasting, Parsons said. The first place winner received $250.
Everyone attending the cook-off also received a People's Choice ticket which they could drop off at the booth of their favorite choice, with that winner also receiving $250.
* Spirit Award: Shorty's Pizzaria
* Mayors Competition: Mayor Robert Newell (Parkersburg)
* Peoples Choice: Parkersburg Fire Department
* Judges Choice: Pepper Star (Melanie Roby)
Parsons said the number of ticket were well ahead of expectations on Saturday.
"We sold 180 advance and there were 180 sponsorship and corporate tickets, so we had 360 sold before the gates opened," she said. "We had 150-200 come here in the first hour" on Saturday afternoon.
Parsons added a Spirit Award was given for the best decorated booth.
Among the chili recipes made Saturday was a bayou chili made by Erin Iafelice-McCullough and Ginger McConnell, from Pickering Associates. Iafelice-McCullough said the chili, named the "Bayou Butt Burner Chili" was a recipe from a friend who lives in Louisiana where she went to school.
"Our chili is different because it brings the bayou to the Mid-Ohio Valley," she said. "Our main ingredient was andouille sausage."
Iafelice-McCullough said the sausage has a smoked flavor and another ingredient gives the chili a kick.
"It has a crab and shrimp boil that brings a lot of heat from a small amount," she said. "It has had a pretty positive reception, so we are thrilled."
Another chili at Saturday's event with an unusual name was a play on a term from politics made by Jared Towner and was served up by Teresa Miller. Miller said the chili was made from ground steak.
"It's not too spicy but it is full of spices," she said. "It's called 'Wonky Donkey Chili.'"
Towner said the name comes from a term within the Democratic Party for a person who works on policy.
"A policy wonk is a policy genius and knows policy and knows politics and the donkey is of course the symbol of the Democratic Party," he said.