There are so many reasons to love Spring: the flowers blooming, the days getting longer, the weather getting warmer- But my favorite part is community gatherings.
I feel like all Winter long people just hibernate. Here in Georgia, our winters are not super cold compared to other places, but that means the cold weather we do have makes nearly everyone miserable and we’d all just rather hide out in our homes. But in the Spring, the community begins to come to life. Farmers markets, art festivals, outdoor concerts… and the Tucker Chili Cook-Off!
Tucker is a new city (just 1 month old!) and home to just under 30,000 people. It was developed as a railroad town and though the trains no longer stop in Tucker, the trains can be heard throughout the day and locally owned bars, restaurants, and shops have sprung up on either side of the tracks.
Outdoor events held on Main Street are a central part of the community. These range from Tucker Day celebration, the Taste of Tucker, Tucker Cruise-In’s, and the Farmers Market. The first one of this season was the Chili Cook Off and my friends and I could not be more excited to be out in shorts and sandals, soaking in the wonderful weather.
We sat on the sidewalk in front of our favorite Main Street restaurant, Local 7, and listened to the music… There were two local bands that performed, Cigar Store Indians and SMAC. They were both big hits with the crowd!
Cigar Store Indians– This was a really fun rockabilly group!
SMAC was an amazing rock band who had everyone dancing!
This chili cook-off, like many others, includes both restaurant teams and teams from local businesses, organizations, and even just families or groups of friends.
I don’t know who these guys were, but they had too much personality to not stop and take a picture!
The local playhouse, Main Street Theatre, didn’t offer chili (or maybe it was so good they ran out before I got there!), but they provided information about upcoming plays, did a little recruiting, and handed out much needed antacids. Ha!
There were many families like Grandpa Bill’s getting in on the chili action.
There were also local merchants selling their goods like jelly and honey.
One Screw Loose Jelly– this stuff is incredible! And the best part is… most of their jellies and jams are made with beer, wine, or liquor. You can’t go wrong with that!
These people were selling “TKR” Tervis Tumblers that you could buy to show your support of the new city.
I always try to find this guy at a farmers market or festival before I will buy honey at a grocery store… It is so good! Check out Castle Rock Honey’s facebook page to find out how you can get your hands on some!
This adorable, creative little set-up is known as the Bus Shop Boutique. Check out their Facebook page to see when they’ll be at a festival near you!
For those who weren’t a fan of chili or who were hungry for something else later, Pallookaville was onsite serving up some of their gourmet carnival food.
I know… “gourmet carnival food?!” Trust me… check out their menu. That Fryenstein Monster corndog with jalapeno batter? Top notch.
After full bellies, plenty of dancing and good times with friends and neighbors, it was time to count the votes. This year they had winners for restaurants teams, individual teams, and best booth.
The restaurant team winner was a bar called Comeback Sports Bar & Grill, which is a local watering hole for many in Tucker. The owner, Susan, posed with the mayor, his wife, and their new trophy:
1st place for the individual teams went to the Smokerise Swim Club (sorry- no picture here!)
And the winner of “Best Booth” was the beloved American Legion… Can’t get enough of these guys!
I can’t wait to visit more local events as they get started this season… There’s so many good ones around! The Clarkston farmers market, the East Atlanta Strut, the Festival on Ponce… Yay, Spring! Which ones are your favorites?