For more than 100 photos of the Havelock Chili Festival, click here. http://portal.havenews.com/photogallery/?CatID=8&AlbumID=2181
Intermittent rain didn’t dampen charitable spirits as thousands still turned out for the 32nd annual Havelock Chili Festival on Friday night and Saturday.
“I was surprised at the numbers of people that stayed out in the rain to enjoy the festival,” said Stephanie Duncan, executive director of the Havelock Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the annual fund raiser in Havelock’s Walter B. Jones Park.
Duncan admitted that there were less than the typical 20,000-plus that have attended the event in past years.
On Friday night, 15,000 chicken wings were sold plus thousands of cubs of green chili. On Saturday, an untold number of cups of red chili were sold, all to raise money for Havelock-area charitable groups.
Deanna Reed, of Havelock, loved the wings. “I’m not a spicy type of person and it’s got the perfect amount of bite,” Reed said.
“I made 40 gallons last night and the pot wasn’t filled up. I was making it until 1 o’clock this morning,” said Tim Newton, a past president and member of the Cherry Point-Havelock Rotary Club. “We had 31 pounds of venison in ours. All of the Rotarians bring a gallon or two a piece and we just keep adding to it.”
It takes a lot of chili, as about 10 members of the group spent the whole day stirring a 50-gallon pot as five members of their interact club served the $1-a-cup samples.
“We want to keep our title as People’s Choice winner,” Newton said. “We’ve won I don’t know how many years in a row,” Newton said. “It’s all for a good cause.”
“It gives back to the people,” said rotary member Jim Freeman. “This is a big thing going back so many years. It’s wonderful that we have a big place to have it.”
Jermaine Franks came down from Raleigh to compete in the red chili competition and then sold out his batch.
“We’re all sold out,” he said. “We sold probably 250 to 260 cups. I feel pretty good. This is my first time in Havelock. I thought there was a pretty good turnout. Great music. Great crowd. We’re definitely going to do it again next year.”
Julie Brown, of Winterville, also sold out.
“That’s it,” she said as she spooned the last cup out of her pot Saturday afternoon.
“We’re served a couple of hundred at least,” said Brown, who is in her second time at the festival and was one of the 20 competition cooks. “On red (chili) I think I did better this year because of the spices and the whole methodical process. I had my mind in the right spot. I had to focus.”
Jamie Grady, of Mt. Olive, came to compete too.
“I felt like I done real well,” he said, after selling out of his red chili. “I enjoy it. This year it seemed like it was better than last year. I think I understood the way it was organized more than I did last year.”
Duncan said she had “people coming out of the woodwork” to volunteer. It takes help to organize and serve 80 vendors, the 20 cooks and 100 booths at the festival.
People do work together to make it happen year after year.
Friday night, after the rain began, a decision was made not to let the vendors drive on the grass lot during the break-down in an effort to keep the mud down on Saturday.
“Last night when it rained so hard, they couldn’t bring their cars up here, so the police, the firemen and the Marines helped them get their stuff to their cars,” said Pi Master volunteer Barbara Winters. “Everybody pitches in.”
Dennis Metcalf, who lived in Havelock for 20 years and had to move with his job, came back from Charleston, S.C. to attend with his family.
“It’s a great little event. I don’t think people appreciate it,” Metcalf said.