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Chili Cookoff set for Thursday

The seventh annual Alabama River Chili Cookoff was postponed due to weather last month, but with only a 10 percent chance of rain and mostly sunny weather, the Blackbelt Benefit Group and Selma and Dallas County Leadership Class XVIII are getting ready for a fun filled day.

“With having postponed it, we are a little more anxious about how the weather will do,” said Josh Wilkerson, president of the Blackbelt Benefit Group.

“It looks like everything is lining up to be a really pretty day, and we’re relieved and thrilled about it. We’re excited and ready not to worry about the weather and just enjoy the event.”

Wilkerson said they struggled with making a decision on whether to postpone the event last month, but after less than desirable weather, they are glad they moved it.

“We were hesitant to pull the trigger and postpone, so we waited as long as we could. We feel like we’ve made the right decision and it looks like we’re going to have a really pretty day,” he said.

“It should be sunny and a great day outside.”

Having an extra two weeks to prepare, Wilkerson said a few more teams were able to sign up and they are expecting more than 20 teams to compete.

With so many teams comes a lot of chili for people to try out.

“They can expect a lot of chili,” Wilkerson said laughing. “But also, a lot of camaraderie and fellowship with Selmians and people from Dallas County and further even. It’s just a good time to socialize and catch up and run into people you haven’t seen in a while.”

The proceeds from this year’s event will go to The Bloom House, which advocates for children in the foster care system.

“We are driven by the ability and the outcome of our events being able to support local organizations, residents and the community as a whole for the Black Belt area,” Wilkerson said.

“We’re thrilled that The Bloom House, a worthwhile organization, is going to benefit from this community fun, family oriented event.”

The Chili Cookoff will be held on Water Avenue near Charlie’s Place and Gallery 905, instead of the usual spot in front of the St. James Hotel.

Teams will be out all day Thursday cooking their chili for the judges and the community to vote on, but the gates to the public will open at 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the gate.

The title sponsor again this year is Moore-Stewart Ford.