Malibu Chili Cook-Off a crowd-pleaser in 32nd year

The crown for the best bowl-licking chili in Malibu was awarded, entertainer Dick Van Dyke and his wife gave a magical performance, and thrill-seekers took in their share of speeding and looping attractions during the Malibu Kiwanis Club’s Chili Cook-off this past Labor Day weekend. 

Kiwanis club president John Paola deemed the four-day festival a success. 

“It gets bigger and bigger every year,” he said. “Friday night the crowd was a block long trying to come in.” 

The Chili Cook-off, which was being held for the 32nd consecutive year, featured fun and fast theme park rides for riders young and old such as the Berry Go Round, Metro Maze, Super Slide, Jalopy Junction and the Kamikaze. There were also amusement park games and carnival food, along with more than a dozen local vendors. 

James Soubasis’ “Jersey Jimmy’s Killer Chili” took home top honors in the chili cooking contest. Second place featured a tie between two contestants, Peter Tulaney’s “Pete’s Pulled Pork Chili” and Alex Reliance and the Malibu Rugby Club’s “Hickory Wild Chili.” 

The chefs behind the meaty and beany dishes were not the only winners on the Civic Center lot, though. Five-year-old Sophia Pees helped beloved entertainer and Malibu local Dick Van Dyke, Saturday night’s MC, pull the winning ticket for a brand-new 2014 Fiat 500L vehicle. The winner, who was identified only as Ms. Coffman, was scheduled to receive her four-wheeled prize Wednesday, Paola said. 


Van Dyke and his wife, Arlene, put on quite a show for the crowd on Sunday. Arlene performed “Take a Picture of the Moon” in honor of the recent 90th birthday of actress Rose Marie, who performed the song as a child actress before later sharing the screen with Dick on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” 

Then Dick and Arlene performed the classic song “Carolina in the Morning” followed by a partial rendition of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” which Dick helped make famous during his starring turn in the Disney classic “Mary Poppins.” 

Paola said whoever saw the Van Dykes perform were the recipients of a real treat. 

“No words can describe what these people do,” he said. “They were absolutely unbelievable. They danced, they sang, they told jokes. They are something. You can tell they belong together because they work very hard at it.” 

Close to $10,000 was raised for the veterans’ group Wounded Warriors for the second consecutive year, Paola said. The Kiwanis club will distribute money from the carnival to a number of different entities, including Malibu High School, in the form of scholarship funds and little league sports teams. 

“That makes it all worth while,” he said. “It is really rewarding.” 

Paola said Malibu is very supportive of the Chili Cook-Off every year. 

“It is just exciting,” he said. “People go to see their friends. They are hugging and kissing because they haven’t seen each other in a while. It is quite an event. I’m very proud to be a part of it.” 

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