SML Region Chamber of Commerce Announces 2019 Chili Festival Winners

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“Out of Balance Chili” created by the team from SunTrust Bank earned the top prize at the 17th Smith Mountain Lake Fall Chili and Craft Festival, which took place Nov. 2 at Bridgewater Plaza.

“Virginians for Trump” finished second and “Sweet Whili” placed third in the blind judging, which was conducted by a member panel on the stage at Mango’s Bar & Grill. Winning chili was determined based on taste, consistency, aroma, color and bite, according to Christopher Finley, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber, which organizes the annual event

First place for both Showmanship and People’s Choice went to the team from Lake Haven Trailer Park, which decorated a bright pink booth with a fiesta theme and wore matching T-shirts.

“The chili was delicious and the weather and atmosphere were absolutely amazing,” Finley said. “Having the Chili Festival lakeside is the picture-perfect way to round out the peak season here at SML.”

Finley estimated approximately 2,000 were on hand to sample chili from the 20 participating teams, enjoy other food and beverages, and peruse the wares of a variety of craft vendors.

“It was exciting to see so many people having such a good time,” Finley said. “At the Chamber, we’re always working to create fun activities that bring people to Smith Mountain Lake all year long, and this event was definitely a hit.”