Alabama River Chili Cookoff set for March 8

Published 9:22 am Thursday, February 9, 2012

By Robert Hudson
The Selma Times-Journal

Cooking chili is not just something you whip together for dinner. Cooking chili is not just about providing an entrée that is served at family gatherings or tailgating events. No, cooking chili is a calling.

In an effort to support a local charity, a local group has organized a chili cookoff to find out who in Alabama’s Black Belt has the best chili around.

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Leadership Selma-Dallas County Class XVIII, in conjunction with the city of Selma and other sponsors, announced Tuesday the creation of the Alabama River Chili Cookoff, an annual downtown gathering that will launch its inaugural event Thursday, March 8.

The event, which will be held along Water Avenue from 5-8 p.m., will go to benefit a different local charity each year. This year’s event will go to help the Salvation Army.

“We feel this is going to be a tremendous event that will not only bring crowds to Selma’s downtown, but help out one of our community’s charitable organizations,” Class XVII and event co-captain Christy Thomas said Tuesday. “We are really looking forward to it.”

The competition – and organizers use that term loosely – is open to anyone and groups are encouraged to put together a team to not only help a local charity but to have a great time.

“This event is a great, family-friendly way for the community to come together and help raise much-needed money for the Salvation Army, who provide so much to our community,” event co-captain Jessica Hope said. “I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to enjoying the evening on Water Avenue.”

The entry fee for teams is $50, while businesses can also take part by reserving a booth of their own to showcase their services and goods. The registration for those booths is $100, but those businesses or groups reserving a booth will be allowed to enter a cookoff team at no cost.

“It’s our goal to make sure as many people, businesses and groups have the opportunity to come together,” Thomas said. “We are expecting a big turnout.”

The deadline for teams and vendors to register is Thursday, March 1. Those wanting to register can find registration forms and rules at The Selma Times-Journal office on Water Avenue, BankTrust and other locations throughout Selma. A full list of those locations as well as the rules and registration information can be found at the cookoff’s Facebook page at

For information, teams can contact Class XVIII member Becky Glaze at (334) 875-2600.

The competition will include a general best chili category, fan favorite and best booth design category.

Admission to the evening event will be $5 for those ages 9-and-up, while those age 8 and below will be allowed in for free.