St. George Island Annual Chili Cook-Off

Sunny skies, a cool breeze and plenty of chefs at your beck and call, all the ingredients for a perfect chili cook-off. It may be perfect, but it's far from ordinary.

Fire Chief Jay Abbot has been involved with the cook-off for 20 years and he says it gets bigger and better as the time goes by.

Last year they pulled in nearly $150,000.

Jay Abbott says, "It grows every year. Our first year we raised 750 bucks, so that shows how we've grown over 24 years."

The competition continues to heat up at the 24th Annual St. George Island Charity Chili Cook-Off and Auction. The stage is set for hundreds of items to be auctioned off.

All the money raised between the cook-off and the auction will go towards the St. George Island Volunteer Fire Department.

Dayle Flint with the Forgotten Coast Builders Association says, "It supports the fire department on St. George Island. I lived here for eight years and I know what a wonderful job they do. They've saved my son’s life on a couple of occasions, been extremely quick at response. They're fabulous!"

Some contestants come as far as 3,000 miles away to take part in St. George Island's annual chili cook-off. But spectators here say it's not always about the chili.

Kenny Strickland came from Crawfordville and he says, "We come down with friends, we get a house, have a good time with our friends. I've never even eaten the chili down here; we just come down here and have a beer."

Whether they came for the chili or the auction, at the end of the day there is one definite winner, the St. George Island Fire Department.

Because the fire department is made up of volunteers, the money raised will go to purchase new equipment, training firefighters, and other things for the department.