A special place

"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, it is a special place where I spend my afternoon."

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Chili Cookoff

   On the first Saturday in March, St. George Island hosts the biggest regional chili cook off in the country. This was the 32nd year the island has kicked off the summer with this big party. And it's the largest event for the entire year.
   All the proceeds go to the Volunteer Fire Dept. and the First Response Team on the island.

The 60's are alive and well!
   Hundreds of cars will jam the bridge early in the day to get a good place to park as close to the center of the island as possible, where an area is roped off for the day's happenings. This year the weather was cold and windy. But the sun was out and it was a perfect day to be eating chili!
   There's two groups of chili that are judged. The amateurs, or "crock pot chili"  groups, are made up mainly of the businesses on the island, such as The MarketPlace Grocery, and Journey's Boat Rentals, that cook up their own unique recipes. Then there's the professionals, with names like the "Toilet Bowl Team", "The Grateful Red", and "Burnin' at Both Ends", that are competing for a place at the nationals. This is serious stuff!

His mom is so proud!
   If you just want to try the chili, you can buy a spoonful for $1.00. Then, if you decide you like it, you can get a bowlful for $5.00.
   Some of the other events that take place are a golf tournament on Thursday, a 5k run on Friday, and an auction that takes place in a large tent through out  the day of the cook off. Some of the things auctioned off include fishing trips donated by the island's charter business, meals for 4 from some of the restaurants and handcrafted  art pieces created by local artists.

You know these where needed!

A Miss "Chili" Pepper Contestant
   Then there's the "Miss Chili Pepper" and "Mr. Hot Sauce" competitions. It probably comes as no surprise that there was alcohol consumed throughout the day, and you would see some of the contestants staying warm without a jacket after the contests were over.   
 Did I mention it was about 45 degrees with a wind coming out of the north that would keep a Popsicle from melting?!
Since this is a dog friendly island, the event wouldn't be complete without our four legged friend. Along with the chili, the Fire Department cooks up bar-b-que, funnel cakes, hot dogs, and shrimp on a stick so no one goes home hungry. And our furry friends are anxious for any crumbs to fall on the ground.
When the sun goes down, the party really gets going. The live music starts about 6;00 p.m. and goes on well into the night. With all the chili that's been consumed, it's usually just the younger folk that are still standing when the music stops.
   When it's all over, a good time is had by all and it benefits a wonderful group. If you've only been once, chances are, you'll be back again next year.
At the end of the day, a good time was had by all


When it's all over, someones got to do the dirty work. So it's the SGI Trash Patrol to the rescue for the day after clean up.

    A footnote: The next day we have what's called the "Post Chili CookOff Cleanup" where volunteers meet at the lighthouse early Sunday morning and are assigned different sections of the island to pick up the trash. That morning it was freezing and some of the volunteers decided to stay warm and toasty at home. But my faithful companions would have no part of that, and where a big inspiration to get me up and moving. It was nice to see the island nice and clean again after such a huge event.



  1. That looks like a great time!
    Wish I was there :-(

  2. Looks like you had a great day for hot chili. St George Island has a more exciting chili cook-off than our local fire department. Ms Chili Pepper was hot -apparently!!!!!