Butt Trumpet Chili already had sold out of its 25 gallons of award-winning chili by the time Patricia and Peter Thompson walked up to the tent.
Chili chef Kevin Kent laid a consolation gold beaded necklace around Patricia’s neck instead and promised he’d save her a bowl at next year’s Five Points Chili Cook-Off.
Kent’s pair of empty 60-quart pots were proof of the quality of his chili. But for the Columbia man, the chili wasn’t the main attraction on Saturday.
“We’re here for the charity,” Kent said. “It’s for the kids.”
On a day when the air smelled like peppers and felt like true fall – that’s chili weather, for sure – nearly 50 chili teams offered up samples for $1 apiece to be donated to five local organizations: Special Olympics South Carolina, Happy Wheels, Columbia Opportunity Resource, Venture Crew and the Carolina Wrecking Balls.
Thousands of people turned out for the festival’s 29th edition, returning after a one-year hiatus caused by last year’s historic floods.
The Chili Cook-Off is a “homegrown, feel-good event,” said Amy Beth Franks, director of the Five Points Association.
It started off as a small parking-lot party organized by a Five Points businessman to raise money for a local charity that was taking care of his disabled son, Franks said. And the neighborhood has carried on the tradition in its original spirit.
This year was the first Chili Cook-Off for the Prestige Worldwide cooking team of Corey Cruse and Todd Young. In fact, it was their first crack at a large batch of chili – which apparently turned out pretty well, seeing as they sold out 20 gallons in less than three hours.
And what makes their chili so prestigious? Well, it’s pretty simple, Young said:
“It’s ninety-eight percent love, 1 percent beans and 1 percent preservatives.”
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.