You never know what you’re going to get with the FestivALL Art Parade — that’s what Susan Scouras said she likes about it.
But that’s not the only thing she likes about the parade that made its way down Capitol Street on Saturday. The parade was created by her daughter, Vasilia Scouras eight years ago.
“She wanted an opportunity for people whose art wasn’t stationary to have an opportunity to display it,” Susan Scouras said.
The parade featured the Kanawha County Bookmobile, an art truck, Montessori schools and radio stations.
“All kinds of things pop up from year to year,” she said. “It’s always a surprise.”
Jugglers, Hula-Hoopers and drummers made their way down the street, handing out fliers and gifts to parade-goers.
“It gives some of the groups a chance to advertise things that are going on during FestivALL and year-round,” she said. “They’re all showing things to the public in a way that there is no other opportunity to do.”
Area conventions and festivals, such as ShockaCon, a horror and science-fiction convention, participated in the parade.
“It gives Charleston a very special flavor,” Susan Scouras said. “It shows there are a lot of creative minds here, and there are people that enjoy what those creative minds produce.”
Scouras said she tells her friends to visit Charleston during FestivALL, an arts and music festival that kicked off Friday, because it shows the best of all the city has to offer.
“It gives every organization that is involved in the arts, every business that is involved in art of any type, a chance to showcase themselves,” she said. “The whole event showcases Charleston for two weeks.”
The Art Parade was just one of several FestivALL events going on Saturday. The festival, which bills itself as an event that turns the Capital City into a “work of art,” continues through June 25.
Saturday’s festivities also included a chili cook-off.
Bill Donovan was adding the finishing touches to his Code 3 chili five minutes before judging at the Smoke on the Water Chili Cookoff at Haddad Riverfront Park.
A chili pepper necklace dangled from his neck as he prepared the simmering ingredients.
Donovan has been traveling from Cincinnati to participate in the competition since the early 2000s.
“The Mountain State has been very hospitable,” he said.
More than 30 competitors just like Donovan, including six area law firms and chili chefs from as far as Canada, participated in the 19th-annual competition Saturday. The winner will get to showcase his or her chili at the World Championship Chili Cookoff on Oct. 20-22 in Reno, Nevada.
Jeff Nester, of Seymour, Indiana, former chief judge and winner of the cook-off, traveled more than four hours to participate.
Although he judged the competition for seven or eight years, he said he prefers working behind the stove.
His chili verde has pork and green chilies. He said the amount of salt in his chili makes the difference.
A woman dressed as a chili pepper was serving as the mascot for her sister and brother-in-law’s booth.
“I invented a little song and dance to perform when the judges come around and do the favorite booth,” said Lora Reiman, the pepper.
Reiman’s family has participated in chili cook-offs around the state, in Huntington, Charleston and Wheeling, for more than five years.
“It’s been a good time,” she said.
The competition is run by volunteers. All proceeds from tasting tickets go to HospiceCare.
Darlene Carnochan has been the chair of the cook-off for 17 years. She said she has participated for so long because it benefits HospiceCare.
“It’s a good thing to give back,” Carnochan said.
The cook-off featured musical performances from the Shaw Brothers, The Change, Beggars Clan and The Sea, The Sea.
The FestivALL celebration will continue today with Woofstock & Wieners, a dachshund race, at noon at Magic Island; Sunrise Carriage Trail Walk from 1 to 4 p.m.; and the Jewish Film Festival and hummus tasting at 6 p.m. at the Clay Center.
For a full schedule of events, visit http://festivallcharleston.com.
Reach Kayla Asbury at 304-348-3051,
or follow @kasbury on Twitter.