The savory smell of chili wafted through the unseasonably chilly air June 18 at the Cascades Casino northwest parking lot.
Steady rain through much of the day had an effect on the Canadian Chili and BBQ Society’s 29th annual Canadian Festival of Chili and Barbecue.
The two-day festival on June 18 and 19 was the largest barbecue contest in Western Canada with more than $15,000 in cash and prizes to give away.
The event also served as a fundraiser for the B.C. Fire Fighters Burn Fund, this year raising $4,200 for the cause.
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Visitors were greeted by firefighters and supporters and given a wristband and a sample of chili on Saturday and a pulled pork sandwich on Sunday.
A donation to the Burn Fund, typically $5, was suggested when receiving the wristband.
All monies raised from wristband sales as well as a portion of team registration fees were donated to the charity, in honour and in memory of firefighter and Canadian Festival founder, Dave Veljacic. In the past few years more than $35,000 has been raised for this charity.
Wayne and June Fettback from Langley’s Mad Cow Barbecue were busy preparing their chili for the competition, aimingzto please the palates of six Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association judges.
Wayne, one of the competitition’s organizers, had two simple words to describe the weather: “It sucks.”
“It doesn’t affect us,” he continued. “I’m cooking inside the trailer.”
Fettback said the festival is one of the oldest barbecue contests around, and he said he would have “hated to see it die.”
“So we tied it to a charity,” Fettback said. “It’s a great hobby but we’ve got to be able to do some good, so together the last five years we’ve worked with the firefighters.”
Fettback’s main motivation is his love for cooking.
“We do barbecuing, we do chili contests… pretty much anything to do with competition,” Fettback said. “Food is very much a big part of my life.”
For more on the Burn Fund and who it benefits, click here.