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Between noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, the Wagging Tails and Nitro Ales, Smoke on the Water Edition Chili Cookoff will be serving up samples of chili concoctions and more at Living Memorial Park, Second Avenue and 21st Street in Nitro.

As well as chili galore, the cookoff will include a variety of beers to sample and savor, a slew of vendors offering their wares, and music among the outdoor attractions, doubling as a twofold fundraiser for the local Dog Bless animal rescue group and HospiceCare.

The cookoff is officially sanctioned by the International Chili Society in the Traditional Red, Verde (Green Chili) and Homestyle categories, with the winners representing Nitro in the World Chili Championships in 2022. The Local Heroes category is open to military, veterans, police, firefighters and all first responders. This year, the annual Local Heroes chili category will be renamed in honor of late Charleston Police Department Officer Cassie Johnson.

Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded for Homestyle, Red and Verde Chili, People’s Choice Chili, Best Booth Decorations, Most Patriotic and Local Heroes Chili entries.

At press time, 24 chili cooks had entered to compete.

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Made up entirely of volunteers, Dog Bless has rescued more than 4,000 dogs since its start in 2012. The festival’s other beneficiary, HospiceCare, provides medical, emotional and spiritual care for individuals with terminal conditions, along with providing support for their families.

Longtime radio announcer Randy Damron will provide the music during the cookoff.

Additionally, the Dog Bless 5K Run will precede the cookoff, with registration getting underway at 7 a.m. and the race starting at 8 a.m. Proceeds will also benefit Dog Bless programs.

For more information about the festival fundraiser or the 5K event, visit

For further information regarding entering the chili cookoff competition, email or go to and search for waggingtailschilichallenge.

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