Chili and chicken wings highlight annual Havelock festival

Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 04:51 PM.

“I’ve been doing this chili thing for several years,” he said. “I read the judges notes from last year, and if I do this and that and a little tweaking, I think we’ll have it. We’re going to win it this year.”

Those are heavy words considering he’s competing against 20 other cooks, many of whom have been past winners of the Havelock Chili Festival and even won national competitions. The winner in Havelock gets to represent North Carolina in the International Chili Society’s World Championships.

Al Parks, of Newport, has been trading notes with his daughter for the last month trying to fine-tune what he hopes will be a prize-winning recipe.

“We’ve been testing recipes. This is the last week. There may be one small tweak we’ll add to it, but this will be it for us,” Parks said. “We started out doing this four years ago. The whole key is to have fun with it. We are members of the International Chili Society, but we’re not going to take it to the extreme. We bring the whole family out for it and have a great time.”

Fun and fellowship is a big part of the festival.

“Havelock is one of my favorite cookoffs,” said Lorenz, who after winning the state competition in Havelock went on to place second at the World Food Championships. “I’ve been doing this 30 plus years. I just love the people of Havelock and the way you do things in Havelock. The general public is just so nice and everybody is so accommodating also.”

The Havelock Chamber of Commerce puts on the festival, which raises money for local charities and draws about 25,000 chili lovers and others for two days of food and entertainment.

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