Chili lovers, rejoice – at least for the next two weekends.

Festivals featuring savory chili by some of the best cooks in the East will be available this weekend in Havelock and Oct. 28 in Oriental.

The annual Havelock Chili Festival, slated for Friday and Saturday at Walter B. Jones Park, 1 Governmental Ave., Havelock.

The 36th annual event is a community event that raises money to support local charities and non-profit groups in and around Havelock.

Times for the free festival are 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The Chicken Wing Competition is the first night and Chili – Green- Verdi, along with Red Chili competitions are Saturday.

The event, put on by the Havelock Chamber of Commerce, includes two days of entertainment, food, children’s activities and vendor booths.

It routinely draws more than 20,000 people for the two days.

Friday’s schedule begins early with booths setting up, the cooks meet at 3 p.m. and at 5 p.m., the festival begins. Serving of wings continues and the festival closes at 9 p.m.

On Saturday, the cooks begin fires and serving begins at 10 a.m. for People’s Choice Red Chili, with judging at noon.

Then, serving begins for People’s Choice Chili Verde, with judging at 4 p.m., followed by the awards and the end of the festival, about 5 p.m.

Donations are made every year to local non-profit organizations. Last donations of more than $3,000 went to Double B’s Motorcycle Club, Early College EAST, Easter Seals and the New Bern Salvation Army.

Last year’s top three winners in various classes included: Salsa – David Lorenz, Mike Singleton, Christine Johnson; Chili Verde – Wings – Lee Villarreal, Sylvia King, Mike Singleton; ICS Red Chili – Douglas Johnson, David Lorenz, Christine Johnson.

The People’s Choice Red Chili and Chili Verde winner was Trish Baker.

The Best Booth Overall Appearance winner was Scott Gaudette.

The Best Booth Showmanship champ was Joe Cornwall and Best Booth Marketing went to Steve White.

More information is online at

Contact the Havelock Chamber of Commerce at 447-1101.

Oriental Chili Cookoff:

The Old Theater’s 10th annual Chili Cookoff is Oct.28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Oriental Marina & Inn Courtyard, 103 Wall St.

Funds raised by this annual event go to support the Old Theater—the building, its contents and equipment. Last year's event raised more thaqn $3,000, which went a long way toward maintaining the 70-plus-year-old theater.

Also, the Dragon Chili Team needs baked goods for the sale table. Bring cookies, brownies, fudge, cake or whatever your specialty is. Package your baked goods in baggies suitable for sale at $1and bring them to the Courtyard between 10:30 and 11 a.m. on Oct. 28. If your recipe contains nuts, designate.

Throughout the year, the Old Theater provides a venue for plays, concerts, children’s programs and workshops, films and a variety of civic, business, club and charity events. All of these activities require a stage, lights, sounds and the support of many people who volunteer on stage and behind the scenes.

If you can supply baked goods or have any questions, contact the Old Theater / at 249-0477 or email


Charlie Hall can be reached at 252-635-5667 or 252-259-7585, or Follow him on Twitter @CharlieHallNBSJ