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County Sheriff’s Department hosts its annual chili cook-off

Posted: October 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Bailey Fredendall, left, and Pat Mendoza stir chili at The Dog House booth.

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The sun was shining brightly on Saturday, but it was still a chili day in Castaic.

That’s where the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department held its annual Fun in the Sun Chili Cook-off — a spicy event that attracts hundreds of hungry patrons each year to the Jack Bones Equestrian Center.

According to organizers, the event a1lows members of the department to get out into the community and compete for champion chili bragging rights while throwing in a little theatrics.

This year’s event saw 24 chili booths, each looking to roast the competition. Entries included “hillbilly chili,” run by a family hamming it up as hillbillies, and another presided over by an ersatz Old West gunslinger Wyatt Earp.

Proceeds of the event went to benefit LASD Motorsports, the Special Olympics and Women Behind the Badge.

Palmdale resident Valerie Paland attended the event with her three children and has for the past three years. Paland attends to support Special Olympics and to enjoy the festivities.

“This is always a good way to volunteer and enjoy some family time,” she said.

Dallas Watkins, an officer with the Sheriff’s Department, had a simpler reason for attending: lunch. But he also said the event seemed larger than any of the other four years he has attended.

“It’s good that this puts the department in touch with the community,” he said.

Repeat patrons were commonplace at the cook-off. These included Jan Fear, who has volunteered at the event for “lots of years.” Fear agreed with Watkins and said it seemed like the event had attracted a larger crowd than in previous years.

But an exact head count is near impossible, Fear said, because not everyone who attends needs to purchase a ticket or check in at the front. Fear estimated at least 1,000 tickets were sold at the door.

“We’d like for all the community attendance we can get,” she said. “This is just a real fun, family event.”




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