Chicken wings Friday, chili Saturday

If there is silver lining to a hurricane, the Havelock Chili Festival found it as cooler temperatures and clear weather have blown in for this weekend’s annual Havelock Chamber of Commerce fundraising event.

“It’s going to be beautiful and it’s going to be great chili festival weather,” said Kat Cook, a festival organizer. “Mother Nature took care of us by blowing all of the bad weather through here last weekend.”

According to the National Weather Service, the high temperatures Friday will be 74 degrees under sunny skies.

The event runs Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Walter B. Jones Park next to the Havelock City Hall and Public Safety Building.

“Havelock has had this festival for a long time now. It’s the 35th year,” said Bruce Fortin, executive director of the Havelock Chamber of Commerce that puts on the event. “It’s a tradition that a lot of people in the community look forward to every year and we want to keep that tradition alive and going. Helping out the nonprofits that help us put on this festival is huge for us. It’s our way of giving back to the community and those organizations.”

On Friday, seven cooks will vie for the top prizes in the chicken wing contest.

“It will be first come, first serve on the chicken wing contest. Come out, come early and enjoy the chicken wings that will be out there,” said Cook. “There will be a variety of wings to taste because all of these cooks have their own methods and their own sauces, so it will be an intriguing batch of chicken wings.”

The band One Lane Bridge will be playing original Americana music from 5 to 9 p.m. on the main stage.

Those attending will purchase chicken wings cards for $5 at the main tent, which will give them the opportunity to sample wings from each of the cooks. She encourages attendees to bring small bills because the festival will have a limited amount of change.

A group of volunteers from Early College EAST will be selling chili on Friday night.

On Saturday, attendees will be able to purchase as many small cups of chili as they can eat, sampling the different styles and offering their opinions for the People’s Choice Award, chosen by which booth sells the most chili. Cups are $1 each and proceeds go toward the nonprofit groups in the Havelock area.

This year, 17 red chili contestants will compete for the grand prize of $600, the silver chili bowl trophy. The green chili winner receives $200 and a plaque. Both winners earn the right to represent North Carolina in the 2017 International Chili Society World Championship.

Prizes are also being awarded for People’s Choice, best overall booth, best sportsmanship and best marketing.

According to Cook, some 12 nonprofits are involved this year along with 19 merchant vendors. The Havelock Chamber of Commerce will be serving hot dogs, chili and nachos during the event.

The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band rock band will perform on the main stage from 10:30 to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by the Scott Shelby, Rob Lightner and The Steeltown Cowboys band from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Entertainment also includes a working dog demonstration by the Cherry Point Provost Marshal’s Office from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Center of the Performing Arts will be performing a ballet recital at 2 p.m., followed by a show from tap dancer “Satterfield” at 3 p.m.

On both days the Havelock Fire and Rescue Department will have fire apparatus on the scene for children to see and explore. Bounce houses will be there too.

“Everybody will have a good time out there,” said Cook. “We like to have a family-friendly festival. We do what we can to keep the prices reasonable.”

Admission and parking are free.

For more information, go online to www.chilifestival.org or call the Havelock chamber at 447-1101.