Annual chili cookoff fund-raiser draws hundreds downtown

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2000

Whether it was the food, the drink, the music or the people, the 14th annual Broadway Bash Chili Cook-off to benefit Natchez Children’s Home drew hundreds to Main Street Marketplace in Natchez to sample the area’s best spicy fare.

For the first time since the event began in 1986, one group — Britton & Koontz First National Bank — swept the awards category by taking home trophies for first place overall, People’s Choice and Blue Light Special, chosen by Natchez Police Department Detective Charles Woods.

Mike Ellard of B&K Bank said he is most proud of the People’s Choice award because &uot;that’s what everybody who walked through here liked the best.&uot;

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The winning team refused to divulge the &uot;two secret ingredients&uot; chef Glynn Laird used to create the entry and chalked the success of their first time taking part in the event up to teamwork.

Several other local officials took part in the day’s judging, including Natchez Fire Chief Gary Winborne who presented the Five Alarm Award for spiciest chili to Callon Petroleum, the event’s senior sponsor.

Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith chose the Fun Bunch Supper Club’s creation as his favorite and Callon Petroleum walked away with the event’s newest award, the Laundered Money Award, for most the most monetarily paid-for votes.

&uot;One of the fun things they did this year was add new prizes,&uot; Nancy Hungerford, children’s home director, said.

But, it’s the &uot;healthy competition&uot; and interaction of the community that Hungerford said makes the chili cook-off so special. Light rain did little to detract from the last hours of the cook-off.

Gay Guercio and other members of Krewe of St. John were protected from the drizzle by the winning entry in the Showmanship competition, a &uot;Survivor&uot; hut complete with palm fronds and shrunken heads.

Guercio said the krewe chose the tropical theme to represent their sponsor, the Isle of Capri Casino.

On average, the chili cook-off brings in about $3,000 to $3,500 for the children’s home, Hungerford said.