BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Once a year in the dead of winter, things get spicy in downtown Blue Ridge as residents and tourists alike experience a “chili” weekend in February.
The eighth annual Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off Festival, brought to you by the Blue Ridge Business Association partnering with the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, kicked off Saturday, Feb. 17, and brought in crowds despite the weather.
Visitors to the festival were welcomed to take part in the judging of the chili cook off where the contestant with the highest number of votes takes home the coveted People’s Choice award.
The Fire and Ice Festival also now holds the honor of being the largest ice sculpting display in the Southeast. Award-winning National Ice Carving Champion Rock On Ice created many unique sculptures sponsored by several area businesses and demonstrated their difficult art form firsthand with live ice sculpting demonstrations in the park.
Official Chili Cook Off judges were also on hand to judge this years 16 contestants and to award first, second, and third place in four different categories.
Among the guest judges were Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston, Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee, former celebrity chef Bob Evans, developer Doug David, and former chef and restaurant owner Kay Kendall.
“This is really one of the bigger events put on by the business association,” Blue Ridge Business Association President Cesar Martinez spoke about the festival.
Martinez explained that despite the unpredictable weather, this year’s festival saw a large turn out: “Better than last year. Last year, it rained actually more than this.”
Guest announcer Cindy Trimble took the stage at 3 p.m. for the moment that everyone had been waiting for, the announcement of 2018 Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off winners.
Trimble explained that judges were given five categories in which they had to rate each chili. These categories were aroma, color, taste, texture, and after-taste. Each category was rated on a scale of 1-to-10 and points from all judges were then added together to determine a winner.
The maximum number of points possible for a contestant to receive was 250.
The winners for each category were:
1. Grilling Gangsters with 176 points
2. Kelly Barton with 174 points
3. Pitstop Chili with 153 points
1. Boars Nesters with 175 points
2. Mercier Orchards with 162 points
3. Chuck’s Moonshine Chili with 155 points
1. Project Chimps with 178 points
2. Habitat for Humanity with 164 points
3. Hot House Missionary Church with 129 points
1. Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill with 168 points
2. Blue Jeans Pizza with 166 points
3. Blue Ridge Brewery with 165 points
Project Chimps, a sanctuary for chimpanzees, received the highest rating by the judges, and Trimble pointed out a uniqueness to their recipe: “This was a really unusually chili and you guys loved it.”
The recipe used by Project Chimps was “chimp friendly,” meaning that all the ingredients used were ingredients that the chimps could also eat and often do for their meals.
Finally, the coveted People’s Choice award was given. Out of 934 ballots turned in by visitors to the festival, Chester Brunnenmeyer’s received 185 of those votes, giving them the people’s choice chili award for a second year in a row.
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The October monthly meeting of the Fannin County Young Farmers Association was held at Mercier Orchards on Monday, October 16 at 8:00am. Association business was discussed and the group was treated to a talk and tour from Mr. Tim Mercier. Mercier Orchards was the sponsor for the breakfast. 25 were in attendance. The next FCYF function will be held on November 9 at the United Community Bank Community Room in Blue Ridge at 6:00pm. A presentation will be given by Sgt. Ryan Fowler from the Georgia Motor Carrier compliance division. He will be discussing the MAP 21 legislature pertaining to those who haul logs, equipment, livestock, hay, etc.
Young Farmers Association Meeting
Monday, October 16, 2017
8:00 am at Mercier Orchards
FCYF Business Meeting
Mercier Family Business Talk and Tour
Agri-Tourism Talk and Tour
Anyone 18 years old or older and who has an interest in
Agriculture is welcome to attend
FCYF members are free
Non-members we ask you pay $5.00 for your breakfast
FCYF membership can be paid on site
Breakfast is being sponsored by Mercier Orchards
|Fannin County Chamber of Commerce Newsletter||
On Tuesday, April 11th our kindergarten students travelled to the Chattanooga Aquarium. The students had a great time learning about all the different animals. They particularly loved the marine aquarium and the butterfly garden. Thank you to our many t-shirt sponsors that enable us to have matching t-shirts for our field trips and field day. Our 2017 sponsors are: Copper Basin FCU, Copper Basin Vet Clinic, Dillion Miller, MD Family Practice, El Rio Mexican Restaurant, Habanero’s Tex Mex, Jabaley Eye Care, Mercier Orchards, Preferred Medical Products, Shoreline Solutions LLC, The Lilly Pad Village, West Fannin PTO.
Kindergarten field trip – left to right: Tallie Mull, Bryson Mull, Bentlee Elmore, Blake Martell
The Fannin County School System does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, religion, creed, or disability in admission to its programs, services, and activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. For additional information or referral to the appropriate system coordinator, contact the system superintendent’s office at 2290 East First Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513 or 706-632-3771.
Congratulations to Fannin High School Graduates 2016! Fannin County officially wrapped up the school year by holding the 2016 Graduation on the Football Field Friday May 20th 2016.
Follow the link for photos: Fannin County High School Graduation 2016
Glorious spring weather made fishing comfortable for the young kids at Mercier Orchards at the spring U-Fish on Saturday, May 7th. The Fannin Fishing Club was there to make it successful for the kids by helping them bait hooks, cast and unhook fish.
Fannin County Fishing Club is in its first year. The club is for students from 7th to 12th grades. The club is sponsored through Fannin County schools, but receives monetary support from various local and commercial sponsors. Club members compete against other schools and organizations in fishing tournaments as local as Lake Nottely and as far as Lake Chickamagua. Some of the competitions have as many as 644 people (322 boats) out in two-man teams.
Wesley Chastain is Fannin County Fishing Club’s coach. He works in the maintenance department for the Fannin County School System. Mr. Chastain volunteered to start the club because he wanted to give students a chance to get “hooked into” fishing and receive guidance while they are at it. Also, he is thinking about the students’ education after high school. Mr. Chastain states that many colleges now have competitive fishing teams and the schools offer athletic scholarships for team members. In fact, Mr. Chastain has already arranged scholarships for club members. The Lake Blue Ridge Civic Association is giving $2,000 scholarships to team members to use for university, college or technical school training. Mr. Chastain invites local fishing enthusiasts to see pictures of the Fishing Clubs’ competitions on the Fannin Fishing Clubs’ Instagram page.