The hungry people voted and declared the winners.
Over the course of four hours Saturday, Nov. 9, about 1,000 people meandered through the Camano Center to sample from a smorgasbord of 23 chilis and chowders. Each ticket came with 10 samples and 10 votes in the longest standing chili chowder cook-off in the Pacific Northwest.
In the end, Packers Kitchen at Semiahmoo Resort won title of best chowder, and the top chili went to the team from Stanwood Camano YMCA/Tulalip Resort Casino — a three-peat for the group. The YMCA/Tulalip team won best chowder in 2018 and best chili in 2017.
"This is a unique event," said Jessica McCready, Camano Island Chamber of Commerce executive director. "This doesn't happen elsewhere, and it's the local community doing something fun and exciting. People can have a good time and get to know local businesses because it's not just restaurants who enter."
Ten of the 23 entries were new this year, and the spots filled up two months in advance, McCready said.
"We had 10 other groups on a waiting list," she said.
In between spoonfuls of tasty offerings, people perused the raffle table, enjoyed the outdoor beer garden and listened to music of Heartstrings. Ed Bednarczyk, the emcee, led a live art auction featuring paintings from John Ebner, Dan Koffman and Jack Gunter where proceeds benefited Freedom Park Association.
The 24th annual event raised $16,000 for the Camano Island Chamber of Commerce to help sponsor community events.
First place: Stanwood Camano YMCA/Tulalip Resort Casino
Second place: Liberty House Chili
Third place: Whitey's BBQ & Catering
First place: Packers Kitchen at Semiahmoo Resort
Second place: Tapped Camano
Third place: Camano Center
First place: Huntington's Grocery Store
Second place: Windermere Stanwood-Camano
Third place: Camano Island Yacht Club