By 3rd CAB Public AffairsNovember 4, 2009
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - The aroma of chili floated across the front lawn of the Hunter Army Airfield Chapel as the Hulk, Batman, and Spiderman jumped in a bounce house a few feet away. This wasn't a reunion of comic book characters; instead this was the chapel's Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off at the Hunter chapel, Oct. 31.
"The chapel has a Fall Festival every year to give Families a Halloween alternative, something safe and positive for them to enjoy together," said Charles Archer, Hunter Army Airfield youth ministry coordinator. "This year was the largest thus far with 250 to 300 adults and children in attendance. The activities were safe, positive, fun, and a blessing to all. This year we added a chili cook-off along with the Fall Festival and it was a blessing to see single Soldiers and parents enjoying the fellowship, not to mention the great chili."
Families brought their children to the chapel on Halloween between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., where the children had the opportunity to have their faces painted, ride a trackless-train and play games for candy and other prizes.
"There were all sorts of costumes. Some of them were the basic superhero or another traditional type like a princess or something, but every now and then you'd see something unique like Boo Peep and a baby lamb," said Christine Burney, volunteer at the Hunter chapel. "There were children running everywhere, but it was safe. I think that's really important for parents. You don't always know who is living in your neighborhood or if they have the best interest for your kids, but here you know the people genuinely want the best for the Families, and the candy and prizes are safe."
The chapel provided free hotdogs and chicken strips; however, many attendees chose to sample the six chili entries of the chili cook-off.
"I was pretty nervous about having enough chili entries for the cook-off, but it turned out well," said Spc. Monica Smith, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, and coordinator of the Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off. "I thought six entries wouldn't be enough, but we had plenty for the judges to sample and plenty for everyone else at the Fall Festival to sample and then vote for their favorite."
Volunteers from Sticky Fingers and the post fire department acted as judges, and sampled the chili then voted on the chili with the most heat and the best flavor. Attendees of the Fall Festival were also able to sample the chili and vote on their favorite to win the people's choice category.
"The cook-off was a great idea," said Spc. Nick Holley, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd CAB, 3rd ID. "With the weather cooling down, the chili added to the fall environment. It was nice to talk with other people and watch the kids in their costumes running around getting excited from all the candy and games."