Fall season arrives with successful Chili Cook-off

JUDGED THE BEST-The New Hope Welding team of Scotty Reagan and Tina Melton and family took first place in the 5th annual Clay County Fall Fest Chili Cook-Off. Donna Hamilton, far right, presents the $500 prize. (photo courtesy Billy Kendall)

JUDGED THE BEST-The New Hope Welding team of Scotty Reagan and Tina Melton and family took first place in the 5th annual Clay County Fall Fest Chili Cook-Off. Donna Hamilton, far right, presents the $500 prize. (photo courtesy Billy Kendall)

CELINA-Fourteen teams competed to be named the best chili in Clay County on the square here this past Saturday with the New Hope Welding team of Scotty Reagan and Tina Melton and family taking home the first place prize of $500 and attendees enjoying a day of music, games, and good food to begin the fall season.

Visitors to the Clay County Fall Fest Chili Cook-Off purchased 573 chili sampling bowls to participate in trying each of the contestants chili and name the Peoples’ Choice winner ($250), announced by event emcee Winton Young, “A Little Taste of Soul” prepared by Ollie Page and Janie Russell.

“We had great participation in all the activities, the music was entertaining, and we are pleased that so many purchased the tasting kits and voted for the Peoples Choice award”, a spokesperson said.

“Traditional Red Chili” was the fare of the day, defined by the competition rules as “any kind of meat or combination of meat, cooked with various spices and other ingredients.”

Other winners determined by the official judges, State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Kelly Keisling, Jackson County Mayor John Carson, Michael Detwiler representing Congressman Diane Black, and Jerry Beavers were:

• 2nd place and $200, the “Celina Health and Rehab” team;

• 3rd place and $100, the “Three Strong Gals” team;

• Best decorated booth and $50,  to “Three Strong Gals”; and

• Best decorated store front and $50, to Town Square Antiques.

“We had great participation in all the activities, the music was entertaining, and we are pleased that so many purchased the tasting kits and voted for the Peoples Choice award”, a spokesperson said.

The day also included live music, a cornhole tournament, a special 5K run, and a pumpkin decorating contest for children.