Malibu enjoys chili, entertainment over Labor Day weekend

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Rich Deveau of Two Dog Chili stirs his chili before the 3 p.m. cutoff for the red chili competition on Sunday.

From saving manatees to experiencing a pony ride for the first time to sampling world-class chili, the Kiwanis’ 22nd Annual Chili Cook-Off and Carnival last weekend was a complete success for all involved.

“We had a great time and our numbers were really up this year,” said Lisajo McGee, Lt. Gov. Division 1 of the Malibu Kiwanis. “We sold more tickets at the gate and for the carnival, and virtually sold out of our 800 T-shirts. We won’t know the solid figures for another month, but we definitely made over $50,000, I’d say.”

McGee said all of the proceeds would go toward funding specific needs for the schools and area youth organizations that the Malibu Kiwanis support. Those include Malibu and Palisades high schools, Malibu Middle School, Webster Elementary School, Point Dume Marine Science School, Our Lady of Malibu, and the Boys and Girls Club.

“We don’t have a specific amount slated for each organization. The whole amount will contribute to helping the groups as their needs arise,” McGee said.

One of the main draws of the weekend was the Regional Chili Cook-Off, which is sanctioned by the International Chili Society. Vying for cash prizes and the honor of rating a spot at the World Championship Cook-Off in Reno, chili recipes ranged from the classic offerings of past champs to less traditional entries, such as vegan chili, and chicken chili. Chili pots were laid bare each day as attendees sampled eagerly, deciding privately which chili merited the cash awards given out on Sunday.

“I would vote for the Retired Marines chili,” Anne Blackwood said. “I liked the tri-tip meat that they used.”

Husband Duke put in a word for a former state-winning green chili.

“I liked it because it was different,” he said. “The color was different and it was real chili instead of chili powder, and I liked the consistency. But the sentimental favorite goes to the Retired Marine chili.”

The contest judges awarded Best Booth to the Retired Marine Chili. Graff Sosebee and Dave Johnson manned the Marine booth this year and praised the event for drawing a large, pleasant crowd. They were also impressed by the amount of space at the event, so that even with a large attendance, no one felt cramped or packed in, either as a contestant or a public taster.

“We’ll be back next year,” Johnson said.

Chili awards were handed out both Saturday and Sunday (see Kiwanis Winners List). Also, several prizes were raffled off, highlighted by a BMW Z4 Roadster grand prize. Ticket holders waited until the last minutes of the fair Sunday to hear their name read. However, when actress Kathleen Quinlan read “Henry Kirkelie,” no one raced up to claim the car. The Santa Monica resident was not at the drawing. He will be contacted and awarded the prize.

Quinlan and actor Max Gail were the celebrity hosts for the Cook-off. During the raffle, they were joined on stage by actress Sally Kirkland, singer Gina Bandy from the band, Bayadera, and actor Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman.

Also raffled were: a London trip, won by Greg Harris; an Alaska trip, won by Garry Moore of Malibu; an ocean kayak from Action Water Sports, won by Aircia and Scott Halley of Malibu; and a Yamaha guitar, won by 10 members of the security team.

The security team decided to sell the guitar to one member and donate the money back to the Kiwanis. Jim Biesterfeld bought the instrument as a Christmas present for his daughter.

“It’ll be a great gift,” Biesterfeld said. “She’ll think I’m the coolest dad in the universe.”

The security force over the weekend was comprised of retired and off-duty law enforcement, which normally provide security for high-profile Malibu entertainment residents.

McGee said that during the long weekend, the most serious incident the event saw was two children trying to jump the fence for free admittance.

“It’s really unbelievable with the amount of people we had that we had no other problems,” McGee said. “But, actually, we have an amazing track record. Over the past 22 years the most serious things that have happened were an elephant running amok, which was scary but didn’t cause any harm, and one year a little girl broke her arm.

“It was a really great event this year,” McGee continued. “We just want to thank the Malibu community so much for its great support, again.”