Frank Bartlett dug in to a small cup of chili and didn’t have much to say after that.
He was satisfied.
“It’s good. I just like chili,” said Bartlett, of Havelock.
Bartlett and his wife had just sampled from the Craven Community College batch, one of the red chili contestants in the Havelock Chili Festival, which is in its 35th year.
“It’s just spicy enough and not too spicy,” said wife Sharon Bartlett. The couple has been to the festival many times. “It’s close by and it’s not too big. It’s just about the right size and the people are friendly.”
Nearby, James Reynolds was sampling a bowl.
“This one is pretty good,” said Reynolds, of Havelock. “I’m going to have to go around to each one and make my rounds.”
Regina Eshleman brought her family out for the festival Saturday.
“It’s good,” said Eshleman, of Carolina Pines. “They were all really good. I think it’s an awesome idea. It brings the community together and raises money for good causes.”
The festival benefited from mild weather and sunny skies both Friday night and Saturday.
Friday night saw the chicken wings competition and lots of music well into the evening.
“I think it is a pretty good crowd. On a day like today, it’s only going to get bigger. It’s a pretty day for it,” said Capt. David Bratton, of the Havelock Police Department.
Volunteer George Cook estimated that there were between 25,000 and 28,000 people at the event over the two day festival.
“Thankfully this hurricane kind of pushed through and left us with good weather,” said Bruce Fortin, executive director of the Havelock Chamber of Commerce.
“We are overjoyed with how the weather has cooperated with our event and that everyone in the community has come out to support this annual festival,” said Fortin. “I couldn’t ask for a better time. The vendors have really stepped up and showcased what Havelock is about.”
The event is put on to raise money for charities in the Havelock area.
“It was a fantastic day,” said volunteer Danny Walsh. “Great weather, Great crowds. The best volunteers we have ever had and we are proud of them.”
“I am especially grateful to the volunteers of the Havelock Chili Festival that, despite their day jobs, have put in the extra hours over the weekends and over the weeknights to come together and bring this event together. They truly deserve the credit for organizing, keeping everything stocked, for running around, so we could not have done this without them and they truly are some of the stellar members of our community that highlight what Havelock brings.”
Chili Festival Winners
Salsa – First, David Lorenz; Second, Mike Singleton; Third, Christine Johnson; Fourth, Smokey Colwell; Fifth, Dave Violette; Sixth, Domino Ireland; Seventh, (tie) Jen Violette and Trish Baker; Eighth, Paula Cusson; Ninth, Wendy Doubles; 10th, Sarah Singleton
Chili Verde – First, Smokey Colwell; Second, Wendy Doubles; Third, David Lorenz; Fourth, Mike Singleton; Fifth, Dave Violette; Sixth, Walter Calabrese; Seventh, (tie) Christine Johnson and Sarah Singleton; Eighth, Trish Baker; Ninth, Domino Ireland; People’s Choice, Trish Baker
Chicken Wings – First, Lee Villarreal; Second, Sylvia King; Third, Mike Singleton; Fourth, Steve White; Fifth, Trish Baker; Sixth, Gary Baldree; Seventh, Scott Gaudette; Eighth, Joe Cornwall
Red Chili – First, Douglas Johnson; Second, David Lorenz; Third, Christine Johnson; Fourth, Trish Baker; Fifth, Denise Cornwall; Sixth, Dave Violette; Seventh, Sarah Singleton; Eighth, Sam Pollard; Ninth, (tie) Domino Ireland and Scott Gaudette; 10th, Joe Cornwall;11th, (tie) Mike Singleton, Walter Calabrese and Lee Villarreal; 12th, Wendy Doubles; 13th, Gery Boucher