For the Clicks It’s annual Labor Of Love For Festival Chili Cook-off
By Nichole Richardson
Once again, the folks at Click Heating and Cooling graciously hosted the 16th Annual Chili Cook Off and it couldn’t have gone better. The weather was beautiful and the entries were steaming hot. Lora Click and staff lined up this year’s 30 pots in front of her building and the votes came rolling in.
Click has been doing this song and dance every year since 1997 and for her and the City of Florissant, it never gets old. “My daughter and I developed the idea after my daughter had a cook off at her work,” explained Click. “I invite people to donate their chili and give it a name. The name is really what people want to taste.”
Many Florissant residents want to enter the competition, and unfortunately, some get turned away. Entries must be tableside by 10:30 the morning of the festival and crocks up to five quarts can be used. Ladles are provided by Lora Click herself and as for the magic number of 30 entries accepted; Click said it’s all the electricity can handle without shorting out.
Voters pay 50-cents to cast a ballet or three votes for a dollar. Aaron Dennis has been manning the voting box since the contest began in 97 and enjoys trying to guess which will be the winner every year. “It’s always a really good turnout as long as it’s not too windy or cold,” said Dennis.
Fall Festival go-ers love the community experience that the cook off brings and sense of comradely that develops between contestants. Janet Wagner was there to show support for her friend’s chili and was shocked to see how fast it all went. By 2 o’clock all the pots were gone. Both Lora and Aaron agree that sometimes the chili is gone as soon as noon. “It is impossible not to run out of chili,” said Click.
At four o’clock the votes were tallied and the winners were announced and posted on Click’s window. First place went to Brennan Goeke for Fist Full of Peppers and Councilman Keith Schildroth came in second. Police Chief Tim Lowery came in third.
Lora and Pat Click donated the prizes with first place receiving a large gift basket full of chili cooking supplies and a $25 gift card from Dierbergs and second place got a chili cook book with a gift certificate from Hendel’s Market.
For all those who entered and didn’t win, and all those who didn’t get in this year-better luck next year and it’s never too soon to start perfecting that sweet and spicy recipe. Trust Lora Click when she says “It’s a lot of fun, but a lot of work. People love competition.”
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