Local Q Writer

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The area's longest-running "winter warmer" is back.

The 34th annual Bud and Bud Light Chili Cook-Off will be Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center, 301 Warren Barrett Drive.

Eight restaurants, service clubs and individuals are confirmed for the competition, with the opportunity still available for more to sign up. Among the eight confirmed are Lone Wolf No Club and the restaurants Drake's Steak and Ale and Finn's Food and Spirits.

The winning chili team receives a $1,000 cash prize.

"We won People's Choice last year and have placed second or third before," Cindy Benjamin of Lone Wolf said. "This year I'm the one who's been reminding everyone the event is coming up. It gives the club the opportunity to earn extra money for community projects. But we won't pout if we don't win."

This year's theme is Souper Rock Fest, and registered teams will be judged for the best costumes that fit with the theme. The team with the best costumes will receive a $250 cash prize.

Chili sampling begins at 11 a.m., and admission is $5. Attendees must be at least 21 years old to enter.

Among the day's activities are complimentary beer tasting noon to 2 p.m.; karaoke; mouse races; cornhole contest; and the beer olympics, a drinking game,

Proceeds will benefit the Bear Creek Sports Complex and help with installation of sidewalks there. The money also supports the Hannibal Jaycees and its community projects.

"It's just a fun time for everyone," said Melissa Haynes with Golden Eagle Distributing. "It's supposed to be a nice day Saturday, so we're hoping for a big turnout."

Anyone who has questions or wants to participate in the cook-off may call Haynes at 573-221-0908.