Chili lovers had the opportunity to try 19 different chili recipes Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Explore Great Bend Chili Cook Off, sponsored by Sunflower Diversified Services. Cook off coordinator Sarah Krom said 140 tasters bracelets were sold, and a $663 donation will be made to the Community Food Bank with the proceeds.
“This year’s contest exceeded our expectations, especially in the number of participants,” Krom said. Three judges picked winners in three categories; commercial, team and individual. There was a People’s Choice award too.
Gail Carpenter and Jane Isern from Carpenter’s Law Office won the People’s Choice. Under the commercial category, the Great Bend Zoo won with John Zimmerman’s family recipe. Community Habilitation Services, located in front of Satellite Pros on Main St. won the team category with a secret family recipe. In the individual category, John Ferguson, located in front of Dawson’s Jewelry and Brown’s Shoe Fit on Main St. won with his own secret recipe.
“The people and the judges preferred a traditional, tomato based chili this year,” Krom said. “The unusual varieties, chicken, white and green chilis didn’t fare so well.”
Participants set up in front of businesses from 16th to 12th and Main Street, along Lakin and Kansas Ave. around the Courthouse Square, and at locations like the zoo and the Westgate Shopping Center.
P and S Security also held an open house and provided entertainment at noon. Old West reenactors from Dodge City performed a deputizing ceremony with several children.