Another Labor Day weekend, another Kiwanis Club success.
This year’s 33rd Annual Malibu Kiwanis Chili Cook-Off, organized by Malibu’s Kiwanis Club and president John Paola, drew thousands to the center of town with an ideal summer carnival vibe of rides, games, local vendors, tasty chili and special raffle prizes.
In all the years of putting on the festival, Kiwanis Club organizers said they’ve been able to raise $4.2 million to give back to local causes and community members.
The event kicked off Friday night and ran until Monday, with a special raffle and check giveaway on Sunday evening.
First, the Kiwanis Club presented $10,000 to Malibu’s Bonewitz family. Michael and Kim Bonewitz, along with their three children, took in a family of five kids after their mother passed away of cancer in February 2013. Since then, the family has received an outpouring of support from the community.
The Kiwanis Club also gave $10,000 to the Emily Shane Foundation. After their daughter Emily was hit and killed while walking along Pacific Coast Highway in 2010, Michel and Ellen Shane created a foundation to honor their daughter. Their foundation includes the program Successful Educational Achievement (SEA), which tutors middle and high schoolers who have difficulty completing schoolwork.
Next up were raffle prizes consisting of a 2014 Mercedes CLA250 and a Laird Hamilton-signed surfboard.
As for the best chili, Arturo and the Santa Monica Rugby Club took top honors during Saturday’s tasting competition, with Olivia Butler coming in as runner-up. On Sunday, Alex Rylance and the Malibu Rugby Club took first place, as Butler came in second once again.
Hay bales were set up under a large tent so some could watch and listen to a variety of musical performers. Performances included the Malibu Seniors Choir, “Fit” with Cambrie’s Hip Hop Team, and bands such as Blues & the Goods, Bu Notes, 27 Miles, The Roman Helmets and Boys Don’t Cry.
Malibu local and event attendee Sherrie Rose was very excited to explore the Chili Cook-Off.
“I think every year we look forward to it. It’s one of our favorite times of the year. We don’t want to go away on vacation so we can come to the Cook-Off!” she said.
Carnival rides included classics like the Kamikaze, Tilt-a-whirl and a towering ferris wheel. Arcade games were filled with prizes like enormous Hello Kitty stuffed animals.
“It’s filled with many memories. I’m having a great time. [There is] a lot of diversity here,” said attendee Ava Adams.
In addition to theme park rides, many local organic food and handmade clothing vendors attended to sell their products.
One vendor was Kimberley Udko, who makes homemade chocolate bars, or “Bond Bars.” Udko was originally introduced to the idea when a Chili Cook-Off representative approached vendors at the Malibu Farmer’s Market. She was overjoyed to have the opportunity to be a food booth vendor at the Chili Cook-Off.
“All the local patrons are the best part. Everyone in the community makes it so much fun,” said Udko.
The Malibu Kiwanis Club, an organization dedicated to helping its community and setting up the Chili Cook-Off every year, has been an official supporter of the Wounded Warriors Project since 2012. The Kiwanis Club has since given $10,000 to injured veterans. At the Wounded Warriors Chili Cook-Off booth, local vendors donated items to sell to raise money for veterans’ traction chairs. Traction chairs allow wounded soldiers to go on rough terrain or up stairs.
“[Traction chairs] allow them flexibility to get around,” said Kiwanis volunteer KJ Margolis.
A special fundraiser has been scheduled on Thursday, Sept. 11, at Casa Escobar where the Kiwanis Club and Wounded Warrior Project hope to raise more money for the cause.