September 25, 2009 – Mayor Bill Haslam and University of Tennessee Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl will pick the Grand Prize Chili and bestow the coveted “Pride of the Southland Chili” title on that tasty offering at the Second Annual City Chili Challenge on Friday.
The fundraising event for the United Way is hosted by the city’s Purchasing Department – which created it last year – and runs from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in the City County Building’s Small Assembly Room.
The event will transform the room into a savory battlefield as nearly 20 teams from various city departments try to capture the hearts and palates of city employees.
The competition features prizes for both the best chili and best table décor and last year’s competition included a tiki bar, a “civil” service station complete with attendants, a vampire serving up “Blood Suckin’ Lawyer” chili from the city’s Law Department and flashing police and fire department lights.
Employees pay $5 to sample as many of the chili offerings as they wish from the elaborately decorated tables.
Coach Pearl and Mayor Haslam, the distinguished judges, will select the “Pride of the Southland Chili” at 11:40 a.m. In addition to the getting the cool title, Pearl and Haslam will also award the fabulous and coveted “Grand Prize Chili Cauldron” to the winning team.
In addition to the grand prize award, employees will also vote on the “People’s Choice Chili” and for the “Best Booth.”
Last year’s inaugural event played to a packed room as the Knoxville Fire Department won the “Golden Ladle” or People’s Choice Chili Award; Public Assembly won the “Red Colander” trophy for Best Decorated Booth and the Finance Department bested all comers to win the Judge’s “Grand Prize Chili Cauldron” award with its “Bailout Chili.”