by Ardie Arvidson
The aroma of barbecue permeated the 100 block of Dargan Street in downtown Florence on Friday night as the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce celebrated its annual “Kickin’ Chicken” wing and chili festival.
As Sideswiped performed on stage, the crowd gathered at tents where wings and chili were being served to sample and judge for the People’s Choice Award. Sixteen cookers competed in the wing competition and 11 cookers competed in the chili competition.
This is the sixth year that the Florence chamber has held the cook-off festival, which draws a larger crowd every year.
“We had more this year than last,” said Jay Lavrinc. He estimated more than 3,000 people attended the event. He said he sold 1,600 pounds of wings and more than 100 gallons of chili.
This was Phillip Harrington Jr. of Nucor’s first time making wings and chili for the event.
“It is really, really good,” said Josh Herring of Florence. “This is an event everyone should come to.”
He was with Sloane Shank, who said it was their first time attending the “Kickin’ Chicken” festival.
Herring said he was not disappointed.
Everyone had a favorite chili and wings.
“I like Victors the best,” said Debra Hill.
Tawala Milling said her favorite was the chili prepared by Vulcraft.
Mike Miller, president of the Florence chamber, said this is the chamber’s major fundraiser. He said the cooks prepared 1,700 pounds of wings this year.
“We sold out last year,” he said. “We didn’t want that to happen this year.”
The winners of the wings and chili cook-off were announced at the end of the evening.
The judges top chili makers were Coastal BBQ and Hilton Garden Inn. Taking top honors in the wing category were Duke Energy, Bellamy and Victors.
This year’s event was made possible by Raines Hospitality and Carolina Bank along with support from Willcox, Buyck & Williams, Victors Restaurant and South Carolina Federal Credit Union.
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