HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Downtown Laurel was buzzing with family fun at the 8th annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off.
"This is one of the best weekends in Downtown Laurel,” said Laurel Main Street volunteer Jim Rasberry.
29 teams started bright and early Saturday morning preparing their chili for the cook off.
"Preparation and getting everything. We got here at 6 this morning and started setting up,” said cook off competitor, Pete Blakeney.
Each team’s chili is put to the test to see who’s the best is.
“We keep ours pretty traditional. A traditional taste. Some people overdo theirs, but we keep ours simple," mentions Blakeney.
The annual event is put on by the Laurel Main Street organization as a way to bring the community downtown.
"That’s what Main Street is all about, creating a welcoming environment downtown to help foster economic development and businesses coming in. Doing so by having events and things like that that bring people to the downtown footprint.,” explains Rasberry.
Blankeney says he comes back year after year because he loves meeting people from all over.
"We’ve been doing it for a couple of years now. We missed last year but we’ve been trying to do it every single year. It’s just fun. Meeting new people, the whole enjoyment, environment, everything about it,” explains Blankeney.
The best home style chili winner was Fat Kid Rock and the winner for best traditional chili was Ring of Fire. The winners both went home with a cash prize, trophy and a handmade chili bowl.
Organizers say Saturday’s turnout was the largest it’s ever been.