Movie stars, doctors, nurses, pirates, coal miners and private investigators paraded around Tuesday night, serving and hosting at the Vilonia Middle School chili cook-off and taste-testing.
Held in the school’s cafeteria, 10 themed booths representing classes, teachers and staff lined the walls, all vying to walk away with titles including Cook-Off Champion, Best Booth and People’s Choice.
"They did a great job using themes," said organizer Kim Lacy, also a seventh-grade teacher, pointing around the room. "This is the second year and I am so pleased."
At the end of the evening, she was also pleased with the amount of money raised which amounted to more than $1,500.
Sixth-grade teachers borrowed on the movie Twilight for a booth theme that translated into Chilight. At the end of the evening, the teachers were selected as the chili cook-off champions and their booth also received the People’s Choice Award.
However, the Best Booth Award went to Chiliwood with teachers dressed up and posing as well-known movie stars including Chili Bob Thornton and Anchilia Jolie.
Other themes included VAST’s Heart Attack Chil-e, where it said you could eat free if you weighed 350 pounds. As tasters passed by, fifth grade VAST teacher David Garrett, dressed as a doctor, pointed to a sign on the booth that said the chili being served "was to die for." He was flanked by VAST students dressed in nursing uniforms who were handing out brochures providing the warning signs of a heart attack. It was said they were serving up a healthier variety of chicken chili.
Chili Supper Investigators, representing the school library, played on the part of encouraging students to read. A sign said they were looking for mystery meat.
A booth manned by fifth-grade teachers dressed as characters from the book "The Hunger Games," promoted reading along with chili eating. One booth, set up by the seventh-grade teachers and themed for spirit, was referred to as the VMS Go Eagles booth. Cheerleaders stood nearby and performed. Sequins and Spurs, manned by the substitute teachers, offered a western them. Those manning the booth said they were there to "show the teachers up." They provided samples of three varieties of chili including mild, medium and hot. As people filed by and sampled, substitute teacher Lori Williams jokingly said it was made with penguin meat.
Special teachers representing Special Olympics served to the tune of country/western singer Jerry Lee Lewis. The theme for their booth was Great Bowls of Chili with Lewis’ oldies blasting in the background. It was said that high school student Andrew Riepe came up with the theme.
The cafeteria team, the Jamaican Me Some Chili team, kicked up the competition a few notches adding jalapenos to their chili.
The office staff, dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow and his motley crew, manned the Pirates of the Chilibean booth.
Judges for the event were Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggins, Glen Willhite of the Faulkner County Road Department and Miss UCA Kerry Hawkins.