EDNA – The smell of beans and barbecue filled the air as teams and families worked hard during the 19th annual Texana Chili Spill and Go-Texan Barbecue Cook-Off.
The Chili Spill began Thursday at the Brackenridge Main Event Center with a celebration dinner for veterans and ended Saturday with awards and an auction.
Deputy General Manager Karen Gregory has been involved in all 19 Chili Spills and has personally seen the immense growth of the event.
“When we first started, it was a one-day event,” Gregory said. “Now in beans alone we have 60 entries.”
In addition to chili, the three-day competition included entries for beans, gumbo, salsa, margaritas, ribs, brisket and more.
Inside the Brackenridge Main Event Center, the Kids Zone offered a variety of nature-themed activities for children.
The activities ranged from coloring pages and face paintings to a giant alligator inflatable slide and Radical Reptile presentations from Michael Price, the public outreach coordinator at Brackenridge Recreation Complex.
“There’s no such thing as a good snake or a bad snake,” Price said. “No one’s ever been injured by a snake by walking away from it.”
Children and parents were given the opportunity to hold snakes that belonged to Price and the Texana Park Nature Center.
In addition to the Kids Zone, children could also participate in the Kids Que Cook-Off.
“We have 12 participants, that was our max on our Kids Que,” Gregory said. “We present them with a steak and they’re going to showcase out there and cook them.”
The two judges for the Kids Que, Daniel Escalona and Karl Rosenbusch, offer feedback to each competitor as their steaks were turned in.
John Rhett Sklar, 8, won the first-place title in the Kids Que against his older sister, Maggie Sklar, 10, and last year’s winner, Cheyenne Glover, 11.
Maggie placed second, and Cheyenne placed third.
The Texana Market was open inside the event center with items for sale such as handmade gifts, clothes, toys, food and more.
Participants in the Chili Spill not only vied for the winning titles, but their competition also helped the community.
The proceeds from the event went to scholarships for local Jackson County students.
“It’s something for us to give back to the community.” Gregory said. “Everybody has a great time.”