Sunday afternoon seemed to provide the perfect sunny weather for Lexington's seventh annual Chili Cookoff. Hundreds gathered at the town's Icehouse Amphitheater for the festive event.
There were about 17 participants in the cookoff contest, many of which had two or three different types of chili to offer at their station. Some provided cornbread, cheese, sour cream or even jalapenos to add into their two ounce sample cups of chili - anything to gain a competitive edge over their opponents. Attendees were given one coin they could place into the jar of the contestant's chili they enjoyed the best.
According to chili cookoff co-founder Bill Shanahan, this year's turnout was incredible. "We anticipated a good crowd if the weather was good like this," he said. But I think it's been overwhelming - hundreds and hundreds more than what we had anticipated today."
Guests agreed that the weather and the location were perfect for the event. "I've been to the amphitheater a lot, it's nice," Lexington resident Ken Correll said. "It's a nice outdoor family event. It's just great. Can't get any better than this."
The chili cookoff was the first event to utilize the newly-completed Icehouse Amphitheater Pavilion: an open-air, covered space that will house Lexington's Market at Icehouse and will be available for many future town events.
Attendees were required to wear a mask with the exception of when actively eating or drinking. Chili stations were placed six feet apart.
According to Shanahan, proceeds from the chili cookoff will go toward the Town of Lexington Police Foundation and other local charities within Lexington County.
A panel of judges chose winners for traditional and nontraditional chili, and showmanship. The participant with the most coins from attendees won the People's Choice Award.
Lexington Chili Cookoff winners:
1. Carolina Wings
2. H&D Chew & Brew
3. NextHome Specialists
4. Diesel Laptop
5. Conch Republic
6. Team Gampy
7. Resource Realty Group (RRG)
8. Village People
10. Ray's Chili
1. Lexington Police
3. Chili Ray Cyrus (Lake Murray Promotional)
4. Carolina Wings
Resource Realty Group
1. Chili Ray Cyrus
2. Ray's Chili
4. Carolina Wings