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Here are three of the AFA crew displaying both the ‘Peoples Choice’ and ‘Judges Choice’ awards they won. From left: Steve Fleming, Brett Hurff and Chief Cook John Crotty. Photo by Gregg Scott

Cool Weather, a good time for chili in the Basin

By Gregg Scott

Staff Writer

Clear skies, temperatures reaching almost 50 degrees, good music and 12 great chili entrees ensured that the roughly 250 folks attending the inaugural Chili Cook Off sponsored by The Almanor Foundation. Open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Chester Park parking lot. There was also beverages for all ages at the Lake Almanor Area Chamber of Commerce booth, Smore’s Kits, Warming Fires for the faint of heart, a large raffle drawing with some very top end prizes and an ice carving in progress by Tim Carver. Live music was performed by Jeff Benedictson.  Quite a deal for the $10 adult ticket cost with all proceeds going to benefit the new ice ring set up in Chester Park.

Needless to say the main reason for all the groups and families serving up to 50 gallons of their favorite chili recipe was to win the trophy and bragging rights that go along with it. The three main prizes were for best chili as determined by the professional judges, best chili (people’s choice) as voted by those attending and best (decorated) promotional booth. The professional judges undertaking the blind taste test challenge were Chef Carol Franchetti (Carol’s Prattville Café), Berton Bertagna (Owner of Timber Lodge & Restaurant) and County Supervisor Tom McGowan. After all the votes were tallied the ‘Best Decorated’ booth was a landslide vote for the ‘Tiki Bar’ sponsored by Almanor Wake Sports owned by Christa and Josh Herman.  The ‘Peoples Choice’ for best chili went to the Almanor Fishing Association. The AFA entrée must have had some magic ingredient in it because it also won the Judges vote for best chili.

This is what you would see as you enter the event. Not a single space of the Chester Park parking lot was not used by a chili booth or activity. Lots of hungry attendees make their way around to all the booths to sample some savory chilis. Photo by Gregg Scott
The Almanor Fishing Association (AFA) crew is hard at work dishing up samples of their award-winning chili and a choice of several condiments. They also offered mini cornbread muffins to cleanse the palate. They joked that the sign in front of their booth was supplied by a competitor. Photo by Gregg Scott
It’s hardly any wonder why Almanor Wake Sports won the ‘Best Decorated’ award with this Tiki Bar motif with all the accoutrements. Owners Christa and Josh Herman must be very proud of their crew. Photo by Gregg Scott

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