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Reigning champ retakes title in downtown LaGrange’s Chili Cook Off

People’s Choice award goes to Beall’s

By Tyler H. Jones

tjones@civitasmedia.com

Members of Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, winners of the 25th annual Chili Cook Off’s best booth competition, share samples of their chili Saturday on Lafayette Square.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff022.jpgMembers of Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, winners of the 25th annual Chili Cook Off’s best booth competition, share samples of their chili Saturday on Lafayette Square.

Volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters hand out chili samples Saturday.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff032.jpgVolunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters hand out chili samples Saturday.

Members of the LaGrange Housing Authority pass out chili samples during the Chili Cook Off.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff042.jpgMembers of the LaGrange Housing Authority pass out chili samples during the Chili Cook Off.

LaGrange police detective AnDrea Scott, left, laughs with a friend as she passes out candy Saturday on Lafayette Square.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff052.jpgLaGrange police detective AnDrea Scott, left, laughs with a friend as she passes out candy Saturday on Lafayette Square.

Members of Calumet Bank pass out chili samples Saturday during the cook off.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff062.jpgMembers of Calumet Bank pass out chili samples Saturday during the cook off.

Jihoo Lee, 2, dressed in a traditional Korean garment called a HanBok, smiles as his grandfather, Sang Ho Choi, embraces him during the Chili Cook Off.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff082.jpgJihoo Lee, 2, dressed in a traditional Korean garment called a HanBok, smiles as his grandfather, Sang Ho Choi, embraces him during the Chili Cook Off.

A family poses for a photo Saturday during the 25th annual Chili Cook Off on Lafayette Square.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff092.jpgA family poses for a photo Saturday during the 25th annual Chili Cook Off on Lafayette Square.

Ensley Murphy, 1, crosses the stage dressed as an elf during the costume contest at the 25th annual Chili Cook Off.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff102.jpgEnsley Murphy, 1, crosses the stage dressed as an elf during the costume contest at the 25th annual Chili Cook Off.

Jude Clegg, 1, dressed at Beetlejuice, crosses the stage Saturday during the costume contest.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff112.jpgJude Clegg, 1, dressed at Beetlejuice, crosses the stage Saturday during the costume contest.

Raymond Jones, right, of Primerica Financial Services, points to fresh ingredients he’s cooking Saturday during the 25th annual Chili Cook Off.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff122.jpgRaymond Jones, right, of Primerica Financial Services, points to fresh ingredients he’s cooking Saturday during the 25th annual Chili Cook Off.

A woman walks her dog during the cook off on Lafayette Square.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff132.jpgA woman walks her dog during the cook off on Lafayette Square.

An attendee rings a cowbell after casting his vote for People’s Choice best chili for Beall’s Plumbing, the eventual People’s Choice winner, Saturday during the 25th annual Chili Cook Off on Lafayette Square.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff142.jpgAn attendee rings a cowbell after casting his vote for People’s Choice best chili for Beall’s Plumbing, the eventual People’s Choice winner, Saturday during the 25th annual Chili Cook Off on Lafayette Square.

Volunteers with the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority count People’s Choice votes for the cook off Saturday.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff152.jpgVolunteers with the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority count People’s Choice votes for the cook off Saturday.

Members of the Beall’s Plumbing team, winners of the 25th annual Chili Cook Off’s People’s Choice award, pose for a photo.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff162.jpgMembers of the Beall’s Plumbing team, winners of the 25th annual Chili Cook Off’s People’s Choice award, pose for a photo.

Debbie Burdette, right, dressed as her literacy promotion character ‘Mama Jama,’ speaks with attendees Saturday during the 25th annual Chili Cook Off on Lafayette Square.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff172.jpgDebbie Burdette, right, dressed as her literacy promotion character ‘Mama Jama,’ speaks with attendees Saturday during the 25th annual Chili Cook Off on Lafayette Square.

Regina Andrews, left, a member of the Beall’s Plumbing team, returns a ticket to Mary Johnson of Valley, Ala., Saturday during the 25th annual Chili Cook Off on Lafayette Square.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/10/web1_WEBCookoff012.jpgRegina Andrews, left, a member of the Beall’s Plumbing team, returns a ticket to Mary Johnson of Valley, Ala., Saturday during the 25th annual Chili Cook Off on Lafayette Square.

LaGRANGE — With 17 competing teams in the 25th annual Chili Cook Off, the more than 1,000 attendees had some tough decisions to make Saturday in downtown LaGrange.

Nearly 800 votes were cast for the coveted People’s Choice award, but for the fourth year in a row, the distinction went home with the Beall’s Plumbing team for their spicy, secret-recipe stew.

Regina Andrews, who came to the cook off from Valley, Alabama, said she liked Beall’s chili because of its freshness and choice ingredients.

“It tastes like real, homemade chili,” she said as she sampled it. “It’s not mushy, not too watery. All of the ingredients are cooked. I’m think this is the one I’m going to vote for.”

Alex Beall of Beall’s Plumbing said he was excited to take home the award – again — but he doesn’t hog the credit to himself.

“We never talk about the recipe,” he said. “But I will say that our secret ingredient is our people. We have an incredible team that helps pull this off every year.”

A larger than expected crowd may have helped introduce a whole new segment of the community to Beall’s award-winning concoction, he said.

“I feel very good, I’m excited,” Beall said of winning. “Its seems like there are more people here than normal, and that’s good. It’s really good to see (the Chili Cook Off) take off.”

If sampling the wide variety of chili wasn’t one’s taste, games, trick-or-treating, face painting and a Halloween costume contest were all on hand to entertain kids of all ages.

Barbie Watts, who helped organize the event for the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority, said she was glad everyone seemed to enjoy the atmosphere.

“We got lucky,” she said. “We had beautiful weather, a great turnout and I think everyone had a great time.”

Two other chili-related awards were also handed out at the event’s conclusion: FLI Properties was presented the Chef’s Choice award and Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church won the Best Booth award for their “Operation Christmas Shoe Box” theme.

In the costume contest, winners included: Ansley Schmitt, Jacob Waters, Ensley Murphy, Jude Clegg, Ethan and Alexis Franklin, Anna Clare Dagenhart and Devin Moore.

WINNERS

People’s Choice award: Beall’s Plumping

Best Booth award: Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church

Chef’s Choice award: FLI Properties

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.