Held by mom Alyssa Grant, 5-month-old Elliott Gran wears the same Lighthouse Chili t-shirt his older sister Madison, 5, at left, wore five years ago. Friend Olivia Short, 8, from Atlanta, was also on hand for the fun.  [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
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Chili cook-off rocks the island gently 

The action in the center of St. George Island was about as laid back as it comes over the course of four decades since the annual St. George Island Charity Chili Cook-off first started.

Gone were the raucous and ribald Ms. Chili Pepper and Mr. Hot Sauce competitions, or the hubbub of a live auction or the strains of rock music.

That sort of party atmosphere was enjoyed throughout the island at what has since the pandemic become the Chili Crawl, an assembly of 14 locations throughout the island where visitors can drink and sample homemade chili and listen to all sorts.

Hot Mess, featuring Mick Barlament on guitar, Sondra Furbee on accordion, Bruce Hoffman on bass, Leslie Smith on percussion and Jenny Odom on guitar, rocks the Cook Street Crawl In Cantina. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

The two events have a nice copacetic relationship, leaving a quiet family-friendly atmosphere at the annual competitive cook-off, where all participants have to adhere to International Chili Society rules as they vie for a chance to compete at the world championship Beach ‘n Chili Fest in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in September.

The St. George Island Volunteer Fire Department hocked their foods and swag as the 17 contestants prepared their beanless chilis in the parking lot adjacent to Lighthouse Park.

The island volunteer firefighters were busy serving up food all day. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Some of the longest-standing teams, such as Lighthouse Chili, which has made iot a family tradition for the past 18 years, was there, with Tallahassee’s Alyssa and Randy Grant, and their daughter Madison, 5, and Elliott, 5 months, together with the Short family, from Atlanta.

Team Water Dog, which has also competed for 18 years, was there, led by Chuck Stubbs and St. George Island’s Leslie Fennell, as well as Dana Kelly, from Mad Cow, another nearly two-decade competitor. 

The Water Dog team, from left, David Grauer, Chuck Stubbs, Clifton Gardner, Bill Avery, Martin Schaefer and Jon Grauer, were in high spirits. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

There were the newer crews, like Team Lucky, from Americus, Georgia, who have been coming since 2017, and there was the Grill Deal, from Lake Blackshear, Georgia, who have competed for four years, and several other newbies.

Team Lucky, from Americus, Georgia, were, from left: Lisa Jones, Jennifer Minor, Angie Mathews, Monica Hood and Sheila Devane, with Joe Minor and Ed Everett not pictured. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

And of course there was the Spice Boys, from Huntsville, Alabama back for their 12th year, as they hoped to follow up on their sweep last year of all three of the top prizes.

And they very nearly did that.

Volunteer Sheryl Clouse, who runs the cookoff’s online silent auction on Facebook, made the announcement of the decision reached by the judges. 

In third place was Bobby Grubbs, from Team Big Shots, and then came second place and it was Spice Boys I, the chili prepared by Scott Abercrombie, alias Mark Honcho.

In first place was Spice Boys III, the chili prepared by J.G. Carver, alias Mongo Faya.

The Spice Boys show off their letter from the late Tom T. Hall, which told them “I have heard great stuff about you guys and the good work you do with charities, carry on!” [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Carver had been running late so he skipped past a browning meat step. “Now I have to rethink my whole process,” he said.

The High Yield award, which goes to the team that raises the most for the fire department, went to Water Dog.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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