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Chili Bowl Cook Off Held at Herndon Trinity Presbyterian

Eighth annual chili bowl competition brings community together.

Herndon Trinity Presbyterian Church Pastor Smith-Cobbs and Church Deacon Susan Oleson.

Herndon Trinity Presbyterian Church Pastor Smith-Cobbs and Church Deacon Susan Oleson. Ryan Dunn

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The annual chili competition on Jan. 26, at Herndon Trinity Presbyterian Church had 12 chili competitors.

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From left, Kenadll Wolfe, Charles Hampton, Herndon Trinity Presbyterian Church Youth Pastor David Hoppel and Jake Killian at the Fellowship Hall in Herndon’s Trinity Presbyterian Church.

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Visitors and congregants of all ages enjoyed the annual January Chili Bowl Cook Off at Herndon Trinity Presbyterian Church.

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Herndon Trinity Presbyterian Church Deacon Susan Oleson with winners of the 2014 Chili Bowl Cook Off, Robin and Andrew Cohen, residents of Herndon.

The 8th Annual Chili Bowl Cook Off was held Sunday, Jan. 26, at the Fellowship Hall in Herndon’s Trinity Presbyterian Church. This year there were 12 contestants who brought their homemade chili, in addition to other guests and congregants who brought items including cornbreads and salads. “Every year it has gotten a little bigger, and competition grows, but it is also a lot of fun,” said Pastor Stephen Smith-Cobbs, a resident of Herndon.

Participants were encouraged to put on their favorite football team's jersey. To participate in the competition, contestants had to connect with church congregant and deacon Susan Oleson. After Oleson greeted everyone, Pastor Smith-Cobbs gave a brief prayer and everyone was free to begin sampling the different chilies. Competing after several years’ hiatus was Mike Fudge, congregant of Herndon Trinity Presbyterian Church since 2001 and resident of Chantilly. Fudge had entered a chili he called “Wooden Spoon Chili.”

“It is a very much filtered version of a Campbell Soup recipe put out in the 1960s,” said Fudge. Fudge had helped Herndon Trinity Presbyterian Church develop its annual chili competition. “I used to run this type of event with my old company for years, so I helped set it up for the church.” Just earlier that day Fudge had been ordained as a church deacon.

“This is a great time for people to come for fellowship and fun,” said Smith-Cobbs. “It is also the kick-off for our canned food drive for LINK.” During the 2013 Holiday Program, Herndon’s Trinity Presbyterian Church helped provided food for more than 1,600 families in connection with the nonprofit organization LINK, Inc. In 2013, LINK distributed more than 78,000 pounds of food to more than 10,000 individuals through their Mobile Food Pantry.

More than 64 participants from every age group came to fellowship and taste the chilies. Everyone who sampled the chilies was able to give points to the contestant they preferred. Both Smith-Cobbs and Youth Pastor David Hoppel helped count the votes for the winners of competition. The People’s Choice Award was awarded to the Erin Casey, a student at Park View High School in Sterling. The winner of the 2014 Chili Bowl was awarded to Andrew and Robin Cohen, residents of Herndon. Fudge won second place.

To learn more about Herndon Presbyterian Church visit www.trinityherndon.org.