Best Chili Cooks Visit Charleston

Charleston is playing host this weekend to the World Championship Chili Cookoff for the second time.

Back in 2009, Charleston was the first city east of the Mississippi to hold the international event.  It was such a success, the planning committee decided to return this year for event which is marking its 46th year.

The action got started Friday with the homestyle chili competition.

Local Cookoff Spokesperson George Manahan says the newly added competition breaks all the rules.

"Competition chili, in the past, has not allowed beans or other ingredients.  It’s the pure form as they say.  [The homestyle] allows for anything you can put into your chili, but you’ve got to cook it on site."

Also on Friday, the Last Chance competition was held.  For those who didn’t qualify for the competition chili finals, it was a final shot to do it by impressing the judges and moving on to Sunday’s big event.

"We’re expecting around 400 to 500 cooks from around North America, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii," said Manahan of possible attendance.

Saturday featured the salsa and chili verde, or green chili, competitions. And on Sunday, it’s the main event, with the red chili competition. The winner of that event will take home $25,000.

The event is taking place on Magic Island in Charleston. The entry fee is $5 for adults. That includes tickets to sample the chili. Beer will also be sold, but it must be consumed on the Island.

Manahan says there is something going on for all age groups.

"There are just a lot of activities. It’s a fun event for everybody to come down and participate."

For a list of activities, you can go to

The Cookoff is taking place at the same time as the annual Charleston Rod Run and Doo Wop which is on Kanawha Boulevard and features more than 1,000 classic cars.

Both events wrap up on Sunday.

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