Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
On Friday evening, people started to seep into Central Park to partake in the annual chili and soup eating competition.
Soup and chili lovers filled their Styrofoam bowls with an abundance of different chili and soups.
Thirteen soups and chili were set up around the square for samples.
Individuals also made their way to and from the beer station, enjoying a beverage along with their dinner.
Main Street Director Lisa Oetken said that the event's purpose is to get people in the community to come out and participate in the fall festivities.
"The goal of this event is to get people out in the fall," Oetken said. "The chili part of this event is almost 20 years old. It was started to get people out and to know what Main Street is. It's for getting the community together and exposed to downtown."
Booths were placed around the northeast side of the square, with the judges conversing in the middle about who to vote for best soup and chili.
Judges for the event were Iowa Wesleyan wrestlers. The chili was rated based on specific qualities, color, texture, flavor and spiciness.
Randy White, who was representing Henry County Friends of Conservation, said the event was about bringing people to the park.
"We're part of the community," White said. "We enjoy these kinds of things. It's a beautiful night, and it's a city park, and we're affiliated with parks and conservation. Anything to get outside."
Ashley Lohmann, who represented the city of Mt. Pleasant Parks and Recreation, described the event as one for the community.
"I'm all about bringing people downtown," Lohmann said. "I like big community events. It's all about the community."
Throughout the event, Whiskey Friends serenaded the chili connoisseurs and the beer enthusiasts.
People continued to intermingle and drink throughout the night until the awards were given out around 8 p.m.
The judges awarded First Baptist Church with the hottest, best tasting and best overall chili. The Vintage Raven Kitten Haven won the Not Your Momma’s award.
The judge's choice for best soup was Kaylin Brokaw. She worked in tandem with Christian Oetken and Madilyn Liechty.
Attendees were able to vote for their favorite soup and chili too. Ann Hayward was voted best chili and Kaylin Brokaw best soup.
Ann Hayward was happy to sample her chili to the community.
"First off, I've been really hard on myself, on my cooking," Hayward said. "I thought, I'll give it a try and get involved in something that's going on in the park. It's just nice to see everyone out and about, especially if they like my chili. That makes it even better."
Following the awards, people hung around the square until 9 p.m. enjoying the live music and the beer garden.