Brody Lewis with his grand prize-winning mom, Carrie Lewis. Photos courtesy of Amy Heaven

Amy Heaven
Special to The Gardner News

Second place, Angela Larson on right with her children.

After two years of rain outs, patience paid off for the Gardner Lake Association as they hosted their annual chili cook-off on Oct. 12 at Gardner Lake Park. The 6 p.m. event was staged below the dam in the historic stone shelter house between two welcoming hearth fires.
Fourteen contestants, some in costumes, brought their favorite recipes with condiments in decorated crock pots. All this done in an effort to win the judges’ favor and to bring home the unique and clever trophies. The real winners, however, were the 75 in attendance who voted by placing gold tokens in each chef’s labeled bucket. Admittance was $3per person who then received five tokens for which to vote, all the delicious and unusual chili they wanted along with hotdogs, cornbread and wonderful home-made desserts.
Elsewhere in the park, the stone-rimmed fire pit contained a large roaring blaze against a back drop of a clear, crisp sky and a nearly-full moon. S’mores were made and balls were tossed and all had a terrific time.
First place trophy went to Carrie Lewis as the iconic ‘Wendy’ with her savory chicken version of “Where’s the Beef?” Angela Larson brought home the second prize with “Sweet Cowgirl Chili with Sweet Bread.” In a close third was Scott Eastland and his “Insane Kitchen Sink Chili” featuring the essence of curry.
The event was a total success as it achieved the goal of community fellowship and a celebration of the changing seasons.