From STAFF REPORTS

The 17th annual Smith Mountain Lake Chili Festival on Saturday featured 16 teams competing for the title of best chili. Pots were filled with secret ingredients derived from family recipes with the hopes of inciting thousands who attended the event at Bridgewater Plaza.

The Lake Haven Trailer Park team was the crowd favorite, winning best showmanship and people’s choice award. Janet Cook said her team used the heat from habanero peppers to make their chili stand out. “We are all about hot chili,” she said.

This was the second year Lake Haven Trailer Park participated in the chili festival. Last year the team won second place.

For this year’s first place team, Out of Balance Chili, team member Edgar Tuck said the key was using fresh, local ingredients topped off with chipotle and lime. “We used a ton of fresh vegetables, and our meat was beef and pork that was raised on our farm here in Bedford County,” he said.

The second place team, Virginians For Trump, had one of the more unique chili recipes. In addition to ground beef and pork, team member Cheri Blair said the recipe included bacon, cinnamon, peanut butter and sherry.

Third place team, Sweet Whili, mixed its chili with homemade barbecue sauce and offered homemade tortilla chips that team member Tucker Holdren said it accented the flavor of the chili.

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