This weekend, the Canadian Festival of Chili and BBQ contest returned to Langley City on 56th Avenue between Glover Road and 206th.
Running from May 13 to May 15, the oldest and largest Chili and BBQ contest in Canada and the Pacific Northwest drew competitors from across Canada and the US
Organizer Wayne Fettback estimated a dozen teams were competing for top honors at the 36th edition of the annual competition.
“That’s down considerably [from pre-COVID times],” Fettback remarked.
Still it was “going good,” Fettback said, with participants happy to be back in competition.
Ross Lunbeck, known as “Big Limpin” came all the way from Lacey, Washington to take part.
“We left the house at five this morning,” Lumback said, as he spooned out samples.
“We love it.”
Billed as a “B-Bye COVID block party,” it was the first Canadian Festival competition in two years, Fred Roycroft, one of the volunteer organizers explained.
“We’re thrilled to be back from COVID,” Roycraft said.
“It’s been a long dry period for the cooks.”
A perennial winner, Rusty Johnson, of Rusty’s BBQ, didn’t realize how much he missed it until the contest was closed down.
“Now, we’re back to doing what we love,” Johnson told the Langley Advance Times.
Steve Burnfield from Vancouver, who has been competing since 1993, said he became interested when he read about a Chili contest in a local newspaper.
“I’ve always liked spicey food,” Burnfield smiled.
More than $10,000 in prizes were up for grabs.
This year’s grand champion was to pocket $1,000, with other prizes ranging from $500 to $150 in categories that include beef, pork, chicken, ribs and steak barbecues, homestyle chili, sandwich, and burgers.
Winners received free tickets to other prestigious BBQ events such as the World Food and World Steak Championships in Texas, as well as the American Royal and Jack Daniels championships.
READ ALSO: Canadian Festival of Chili and BBQ is back in Langley
For a minimum $5 donation to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, visitors could receive a sampling wristband and a bowl of Firehouse Chili on Saturday or a sampling wristband and a Pumper Pulled Pork sandwich on Sunday.
On Saturday, music was provided by the Antonio Larosa Band and Emmett Jerome, then on Sunday, The Unbranded, a country band based out of Chilliwack.
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Money raised supports the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, specifically the young burn survivors camp.
There’s also a beer garden, outfitted with three taps, running 11 am to 4:30 pm The beer to support firefighter charities is a Backdraft Red Ale. $1 of every pint, growler fill or four pack purchased goes to the Fire Fighters Burn Fund charity.
To date, the annual festival has donated in excess of $60,000 to the fund.
More photos from the event can be viewed online at the Langley Advance Times Facebook page.
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