It was quite a surprise. Organizers of the 2012 Tucker Chili Cook-Off, held Saturday on Main Street, clearly did not expect such a big turnout.
"Unbelievable," said sponsor and Local 7 owner James Maggard of the crowd, estimated by police at more than three thousand. He told Patch thay they figured on "maybe half that number; next year we'll know better," as plans are already underway for a follow-up.
The doom-laden weather forecast had predicted rain - and lots of it. As it turned out, the rain started to kick in around five o'clock, right at the end of the proceedings.
The only downside was that many participants ran out of chili and gumbo well before the end of the day. "A good problem to have" was a common theme among contestants, who branded themselves with names like 'Girth, Wind and Fire' and 'Achy Breaky Fart.'
The cook-off raised funds for Tapestri, the Tucker-based human rights organization.
"Beer, music, and chili. There's no better mix," announced Art Wood from the music stage, where a number of local bands played, including Will and the Way - featuring Will Turpin from Collective Soul.
Asked by Tucker Patch if there were any difficulties with the large crowd, Master Police Officer R. Cawthon of the South District said, "no trouble at all, even with all the alcohol flowing. And it was definitely flowing."
Jamey Wilson of Cofer Brothers, who spearheaded the event, said that they may try to do a barbeque cook-off this summer. Local 7's James Maggard added that next time, whenever that is, they will take over the whole of Main Street "from top to bottom."
The results were as follows:
Top Three Chili Team/Individual Winners
1st Place: Marji Rae's
2nd Place: World of Lewis, aka Achy Breaky Fart
3rd Place: Old Tucker Fountain