"It's not just about cooking -- it's about families coming together, traveling, having a good time and meeting new people. And, it's easy because Charleston is a very welcoming town," Igo said. "We felt the cook-off was a perfect fit for FestivALL. It encompasses all these different forms of art, and the people here today consider their cooking as art."
Though it rained for a short period Saturday and storms are predicted over the next week, Igo said the stage and canopy installed last year at the Haddad Riverfront Park are allowing the 2011 FestivALL to go smoothly.
"Everything was O.K. because these chili cooks can work in rain or shine. FestivALL is such a big project that arrangements are made in case of inclement weather, and events will be moved inside or postponed," she said. "The crowds have been staying despite the rain because this year we have the canopy area -- it's been a lifesaver."
As the chili cooks competed on Kanawha Boulevard, a crowd gathered on the city's West Side to watch the wiener dog races.
A wiener dog named Beans, short for Little Miss Cocoa Beans, came in first place for the adult races. The dog's owner, St. Albans resident Sherri Shaffer, said it's the perfect event for families to attend together.
"We love it down here," Shaffer said. "It's so nice to have a family atmosphere to enjoy in the community. FestivALL really does offer something for everyone -- even for pets."
FestivALL will continue today beginning at 8 a.m. with an Art Gawk, in which local artists will display their work in downtown storefront windows. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.festivallcharleston.com.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at Mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.