David Lorenz is redefining repeat.

David Lorenz is redefining repeat.

Lorenz took first place in the Havelock Chili Festival for the third straight year on Saturday, capping a weekend that featured large crowds, pleasant weather and plenty of good food.

“It’s just unbelievable. I’m elated again. It’s just unheard of to win something three years in a row. I don’t know what to say,” said Lorenz, a New Jersey native who received a winner’s prize of $1,250 and moves on to represent North Carolina in the world chili championships.

He’s also participating in a new Travel Channel cook competition in two weeks.

“I’m going to cook the same pot there and hopefully it will do just as good there as it did here,” he said of his red chili.

Mike Singleton of Newport repeated as Friday night’s hot wings champion.

“Every year it gets bigger and better,” he said of the festival. “We started chicken wings about five years ago. Last year I think we had about 7,000 and this year we’ve got 10,000. The city of Havelock puts on a great festival. The Chamber of Commerce does a great job out here.”

Singleton’s wings have gained a reputation as being terrific but hot.

“They really enjoy it and they come back every year. We have repeat customers that come specifically to our booth,” he said. “We enjoy cooking. It’s what we like to do for hobbies and we like to eat as much as we like to cook.”

Other winners included Christine Johnson for chili verde, Eddie Huffman for salsa, Little Caesars for showmanship, Havelock-Cherry Point Rotary Club for People’s Choice in red chili.

And the festival was a big winner for those attending.

“This is actually my third time and we love it, love it, love it,” said Charlee West of Havelock. “And I like the wing fest the best. We’re big wings fans. We love trying all the wings.”

Her 18-month-old daughter Penelope showed she liked the wings as well.

“She absolutely loves them. She can’t get enough,” West said. “She will eat ‘em and ‘em right off the bone.

Havelock Police Sgt. K.L. Gillis wasn’t afraid to express himself about the chili verde he ate Friday night.

“Look at this face. That says it all,” he said of Julie Brown’s green chili. “This is the first one I’ve had but it’s - can I say damn good - too late I said it. This is the chili against which all others should be charged.”

Brown placed third in chili verde and third in salsa.

“Spices. It’s all about the spices,” said Brown, of Winterville. “This is my first year in Havelock. We’ve been doing cookoffs competitively for the last 12 years but this is the first year in Havelock.”

Jah Hopewell, of Havelock, ate as least four orders of wings Friday night.

“The chili and the food is really good,” the Havelock Middle School student said. “The jalapeño screamers, they’re really hot. I can tell you that. The food is great.”

Stephanie Duncan, executive director of the Havelock Chamber of Commerce that puts on the event, estimated as many as 30,000 people came out over the two-day event, thanks in part to pleasant weather.

“I can’t believe how many people are here. I can’t count that high. They are parked all the way over there and in ditches,” Duncan said.

Olivia Newton, a Havelock High Interact club member, was stirring a 40-gallon pot of chili Saturday for the Havelock-Cherry Point Rotary Club, touting the amazing qualities of her group’s red chili.

“It clears the sinuses, exfoliates the skin, changes you life maybe, if you’re lucky. Keeps you from starving. It’s Rotary chili. One dollar per cup. Toppings are free. Napkins are $20,” Newton said.

Mike Small, of Havelock, was out to sell chili his wife and daughters had a hard time eating.

“If I can’t get my family to eat it, I might as well get somebody to eat it,” he joked. “They say I make it too hot. At my strength, if it doesn’t make you cry, it isn’t hot enough. So I have to tame it down from that. My dad wanted to see tears out of my eyes growing up. But this isn’t that hot. I put a little bit of heat in it, not much.”

Catelyn Tobin, a Havelock High School senior, drew a lot of eyes with her jalapeño pepper hat.

“I bought it online a few years ago just for the chili festival,” Tobin said. “Every year I get people staring at me and saying ‘I love your hat.’”

Sergio Jimenez, of Havelock, a former Marine and private contractor on base, brought his family out again for the festival.

“It gives an opportunity for the people in the community to come together and raise a lot of money for a lot of good causes and for those who really need it,” he said. “It’s a great place to bring the family. There are a lot of different activities for the kids especially with the little air demonstrations that they have down there. They seem to really enjoy that. We’ll definitely be coming back next year.”

Judy Bird, one of the sorority sisters from the Pi Master chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, agreed.

“I think it’s a real gift and were thankful for that,” she said. “We have laid a foundation for people to come because people know they can come here and have good clean fun for a family environment and for great food.”

Barb Krcmar serves as executive director of the Craven-Cherry Point Child Development, which receives funds from the festival’s proceeds.

“The chili festival has been going on for over 30 years and what it does is it brings the whole community together to learn about everything about what’s going on in Havelock, all the nonprofits that are involved and all the community organizations and everything else,” she said. “And they get a chance to get together, learn about each other, have fun and be a community with each other. It’s a great experience. This brings the whole city of Havelock together.” 

For more pictures from the Havelock Chili Festival, click here: http://portal.havenews.com/photogallery/?CatID=8&AlbumID=1889