9th Annual Fire Fighter Chili Cookoff

9th Annual Fire Fighter Chili Cookoff

FREE EVENT!


Free
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Gates 2:00 PM | Starts 2:00 PM
Tickets:
FREE EVENT!

Admission to the event is FREE! We do ask for $1 per sample of chili. 100% of the funds raised for the chili samples goes directly to Hoods for Heroes!

 

Somewhere around October 2010, I was in Denver, CO on vacation. Walking southeast on 14th Street, I noticed that the street was blocked off and filled with parked cars. All of them had Maltese cross stickers on them, in one place or another, the age-old symbol for fire service personnel. As a firefighter, I began to think that this could quite possibly be a gathering of cars for a firefighter funeral or procession.

This quiet, gloomy feeling was only matched by the long shadows being cast by the city skyline, the sun already being blocked by high-rises. As I approached Larimer St. I began to hear the noises of a crowd and it got louder and louder the closer I got. Rounding the corner I was greeted with not a mournful ceremony of loss, but rather one of the most fun parties I have ever been to. This was the Denver Firefighter’s annual chili cook-off fundraiser! It was amazing! There were literally dozens and dozens and dozens of booths of firefighters selling chili samples, on both sides of the street. For blocks. The booths were from stations all over Denver Fire Departments coverage area, but also from all kinds of surrounding departments, all having the time of their lives, raising money for a great cause. So it was that the St. Augustine Firefighter Chili Cook Off was born. I stole it.

Yep, that’s right. I stole it, and this is my confession. I came back from vacation and set to work on putting one together with our department as the host. Now some may interject at this point and question, ‘Chili? In Florida?’ First of all…, just kidding. I had the same questions. But, first of all, there probably isn’t a firefighter alive that hasn’t eaten or cooked chili at the firehouse, so I knew I had that box checked. As for attendees to eat it? Well, in my experience, lots of people like to gather together and have fun, and 100% of the people I know like food and like to eat so…. Box 2 checked. Weather? I mean, this isn’t Denver, but, I gambled that a December day in north Florida was a 50/50 shot. The final hurdle was appropriately managing multiple groups of Alpha firefighters competing against each other. Eh, it was like dealing with family. So, I rolled the dice.

Through all the planning and phone calls and meetings and partnerships, it slowly took form. In December of 2011, the 1st Annual Firefighter Chili Cook Off took place at the St. Augustine Amphitheater during their Winter Wonderland season. It wasn’t a very large turnout, but even still we were able to raise about $1000 in just a few hours. I was hooked! Without the teams stepping up that first year and making chili at their own cost, and also without the help of a bunch of amazing community partners, there would’ve never been a second year. But there was, and it was almost the same result. Someone that I trust told me that ‘if you just make it the third year, you’ll create a kind of following.’ And so came year number three and it continued to grow, albeit slowly. Now here we are and we're headed into our 9th annual event.

 

A movie screening of the original Christmas Classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will take place on the Front Porch at The Amp starting at 6:00 PM



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General Information: 904-209-3746 | ampinfo@sjcfl.us

Venue Address
1340C A1A South
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Reception Office: 904-209-3746
Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Box Office: 904-209-0367
1340C A1A South
St. Augustine, FL 32080
Thursday & Friday 10:00am-6:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm
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St. Johns County, St. Augustine Fl
St. Johns Cultural Council
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