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Bonita chili cook-off and fair provides festive backdrop once again Phillip Brents | Mon, May 07 2012 02:26 PM

The people who put together Bonita’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Chili Cook-off & Fair may have outdone themselves this year by the look of the full parking lot Sunday (April 29) at the Chula Vista Municipal Golf Course.

“This is the largest one – all the spaces were sold out,” exclaimed Pat Dolan, who serves as the executive director of the Bonita Business and Professional Association.

The chili cook-off and fair remains Dolan’s favorite civic event. Certainly, it serves a good cause. The event benefits the Bonita Public Safety Center and Southwestern College Police Academy scholarship fund.

“I started on the committee that first year and have been on every committee since then,” she said proudly.

This year’s event certainly attracted a large share of visitors to go with the large number of vendors and crafters on hand.

Besides the 17 chili cook-off teams present, the venue featured stage entertainment, a kids corral fun zone, classic car show and law enforcement displays.

And, yes, the pie-eating contest was back again by popular demand.

Six hundred dollars in prize money went to the judged chili entries. Romesco’s captured the first place award of $300 while the Bonita Optimist Club received $200 for its second-place entry. The team from Glen Abbey took home $100 for third place.

The Bonita Fire Department won the coveted People’s Choice award while the appropriately named Natural Gas team received honorable mention honors.

Olympian High School student Arvin Lleva won the pie-eating contest. He pocketed $50 after wiping the remnants of whipped cream and pie filling from his face.

The event retains its community-oriented roots.

This year’s chili judges included Miss Bonita Megan Glibbery, Miss Chula Vista Jessica Giltner, Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox, County Supervisor Greg Cox, Southwestern College Dean of Continuing Education Mark Meadows, Bonita Valley Horsemen President Susan Heavilin, Roy Hattendorf of Friendship Force San Diego and Star-News Entertainment Editor Phillip Brents.

Judging is done on aroma, consistency, taste and overall quality of each sample.

The folklorico dancers from Gift of Dance put on a colorful and entertaining stage show to classical mariachi music.

The kids zone featured pony and donkey rides and a laser tag maze.

Sprouts Marketplace sponsored the pie-eating contest that began with three brave individuals and quickly filled two dining tables.

The Southwestern College Clay Club also was on hand to display its custom handiwork.

For more information about upcoming events sponsored by the BBPA, visit the Web site at www.bonitacalifornia.org.

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