Saturday, however, brought a persistent drizzle that began in the early morning hours and continued throughout the bean cooking. Only two cooking teams were no-shows, and some of the 30 others erected canopies or other protection from the rain. All bean kettles had wooden or foil lids.
This year’s winning pot was #9, with chefs Lane Galloway and Brooke Underwood of Mississippi revealing only that they put “lots of love” into the kettle.
Eldon and Donna Haynes of Marmaduke huddled in a pop-up hunting blind while not tending their beans in pot #21. Eldon commented that they have entered the cook-off about 10 times and have experienced all kinds of weather, including snow. Their perseverance paid off with a second place this year.
Third place was pot #22 cooked by Austin Kennon, Hollis Finley and Javan Sutton.
Best decorated table was at pot #15 by Stephany Corter.
Best costumes were at pot #27 wth Kimberly Vazques and Larcie Paulin.
Drenched themselves, Chamber of Commerce officials considered calling off the outhouse races. With heavier rain falling as race time approached, Chamber Manager Tracy Turpin became concerned about the safety of everyone involved. Faced with expectant participants, however, he agreed to conduct it without the modifications that had been planned for this year. The goal had been to remove the emphasis on speed and have the teams stop mid-course to complete an entertaining activity. The activity was abandoned and a straight course quickly roped off with a starting line at Urban Forge and a finish line just east of the cross walk on Main Street.
“I had safety concerns,” Turpin said. “Everyone involved wanted to race. They had signed waivers and were excited to race, rain or no rain.”
Most teams – two pushers and a driver either soaked from rain or draped in protective wear – didn’t run all-out, but the Mountain View Chevrolet team was determined to repeat last year’s win and succeeded. The General Pee was awarded this year’s first-place toilet seat trophy. “The Poops of Hazard” entry was pushed by Kyler Gammill and Ricky Via.
The final heats were the most serious, and thus the fastest, with second place going to Jack’s Resort and third place to JoJo’s Catfish Wharf, both perennial favorites in the competition.
The steady rain that began as the final heat got underway did not let up, and the crowd that had hung in for the duration quickly dispersed afterward. There was a steady downpour by 3 p.m., and those in charge of conducting activities still had to fold tables, pick up burners and propane cans, clean bean pots, and transport everything to storage.
“All things considered, I can’t be too disappointed,” Chamber manager Tracy Turpin said Monday. “I spent the morning with the bean cookers, and everyone was just happy to be there.”
Turpin said participants maintained a good attitude, and those who were veterans of the event were prepared for anything.
“On the bright side, we didn’t have high winds so that was an improvement over last year,” Turpin added.
“There were many people who worked very hard to make this event come together and I’m grateful to all of them.”
Music that had been scheduled for the outdoor courthouse stage was moved upstairs to the courtroom and the available seating was packed with spectators, a scene reminiscent of hootenanny days of the 1960s.
Outdoor craft and merchandise vendors were challenged by the breeze on Friday. By Saturday, only two weather-resistant canopies remained in the Artisans Market area, but many remained on Peabody Avenue until the conclusion of events.
Best Fest, produced by the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce, takes place on the fourth Saturday of October each year.
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