Mobile's 21st Annual Chili Cook-Off

This coming Saturday Mobile's Beinville Square will overwhelm with the aroma of chilies and spices.  Once again downtown will host the 21st Annual Chili Cook-Off, Mobile's most popular charitable event.  In 1989 the first Chili Cook Off raised $550 for the American Cancer Society.  In 2009 126 teams combined to raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars.  In addition to chili in every in every conceivable form there will also be plenty of soft drinks, hooch and live entertainment.

The entertainment this year will come from the varied musical stylings of PEEK, local favorite El Cantador, Lee Yankee and the Hellz Yeah and Faulkner State's Sun Chief Sound.  Sponsors like Coca-Cola and Budweiser will provide liquid refreshments to cool the heat from all that chili and hot dogs and french fries are available for the yungins.  Teams with inventive names like Beef and Bean Bandits, Pretty in Pink and Smokin' Butts for Jesus will compete in four different categories: meat only, meat and beans, wild game and vegetarian.

On two occasions I have competed in the Cook-off and I can attest first hand to the fun to be had in this competition.  Although, lugging in the equipment in the pre-dawn quiet is surreal by the time the judges start tasting at 10:30 the very air is a buzz.  Once the gates open to the public at 11 AM it's downright electric.  Usually taking place within a few weeks of the end of Mardi Gras, Mobileans are rested up from Fat Tuesday and ready to party again.  The Chili Cook-off is the start of an amazing Spring of great food festivals which also includes the Hog Wild BBQ Championship, Luck of the Irish Cook-off and the Elberta German Sausage Festival.

The American Cancer Society's 21st Annual Chili Cook-Off takes place on Saturday February 27, 2010 in Beinville Square.  Gates open at 11:00am and the first band goes on at 8:30am.  There will be four entrances to the square located at Dauphin Street and Conception Street, Dauphin Street and Joseph Street, Conception Street and St. Francis Street, and St. Francis and St. Joseph Street.  Tickets are $10.00 in advance, $15.00 day of event.  Children 12 and under are free.  For more information call the ACS office at 251-344-9858, Monday - Friday from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM or e-mail Heather Bolton.
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