The 42nd Mexican National Chili Cookoff drew throngs of visitors for lakeside’s largest charity fundraiser, held February 7 to 9 at the Tobolandia Water Park.
The lively hoedown attracted thousands of customers to the marketplace offering a wide array of arts, crafts, services, souvenirs and raffle prizes, along with hour upon hour of great entertainment, food and drinks for all tastes. Add to this the excitement of Friday’s margarita and salsa contests and chili-con-carne competitions running Saturday and Sunday. Cash prizes and handsome pewter platters were given out each day to first-, second- and third-place winners of the judged culinary entries, as well as special trophies awarded to teams gaining the most people’s-choice votes cast by the tasting public.
The really big winners of the annual blast are the local people who benefit from charitable organizations that share the cookoff’s proceeds: Casa de Ancianos de Chapala, Centro de Desarrollo Ajijic, Chapala Sunrise Rotary Club, Cruz Roja Chapala, School for Special Needs Children, Lake Chapala Shrine Club, Love in Action Center, Niños de Chapala y Ajijic, and Niños Incapacitados del Lago.
All photpgraphs by DALE PALFREY
Carol Bouchard awarded the first place and people’s-choice chili trophies on Sunday to Hacienda del Lago’s double winner, chef Georg Papadopoulos.
Mama’s Musical Bar (at left) returned the winner’s podium on Saturday for the first place chili pot, ahead of Lanny Overall and Friends in second, with Always Smokin’ taking both third and people’s choice.
Barmen from The Cocktail Bar of Ajijic whipped up wicked cocktails to triumph in Friday’s margarita contest. Casa Bonanza nailed second place and people’s choice, with Blue Rose Bistro coming in third.
Winning teams in the salsa competition were (L to R) The Hog Dog Shop, first; Mama’s Musical Bar, second; Perry’s Pizza, third; and Awesome Sassy Salsa, people’s choice.
The cookoff crowd partied right to the end, dancing at the foot of the stage where the Whipper Snappers closed out three days of non-stop fun.
Whipper Snappers lead singer Pauline Proulx hit a heart-stopping high note during the country band’s performance at the Chili Cookoff Sunday, February 9.
Blue Jay Slim
Sporting a cookoff VIP badge, Canadian Consul and Trade Commissioner Lewis Coughlin stopped by the Royal Canadian Legion booth to schmooze with fellow citizens following Saturday’s opening ceremony.
Bruno Mariscal, an alumni of the Neil James art program and owner of Playeras Ajijic, designed this year’s Chili Cookoff T-shirt logo.
Day two at the 42nd annual Mexican National Chili Cookoff kicked off with a parade from Ajijic to the Tobolandia fairgrounds. Not to be left out of the fun, the Guadalajara Reporter joined in with a red hot chile pepper float featuring Lakeside newcomer and cookoff volunteer Lisa Ball (left), GR columnist Ed Tasca (center), Ajijic GR office manager (and float decorator and pilot) Libby Townsend, GR contributor Elaine Halleck (riding shotgun), and brothers Dylan Godfrey Aranda (right) and Erik Isidoro Aranda (rear in chili outfit).
THE COLOR OF THE COOKOFF