Great Tuscaloosa Chili Cookoff: Competition Heats Up to Benefit Exchange Club Programs Featured

06 Feb 2018 Faith Henley
The Tuscaloosa Firefighters Local 403 team was the Grand Champion of the 2017 Cookoff Awards. The Tuscaloosa Firefighters Local 403 team was the Grand Champion of the 2017 Cookoff Awards. Exchange Club of Tuscaloosa

On the second Saturday of February, thousands of chili lovers will flood the Bryant Conference Center for the Exchange Club of Tuscaloosa’s annual Great Tuscaloosa Chili Cookoff to benefit the local community. 

Visitors are treated to free food and samples of dozens of chili recipes at the event on February 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. In between snacks, attendees can enjoy live music or enter drawings for numerous great prizes.

People from all over the community who support the Exchange Club’s mission form teams for the event. Groups compete not only for the best chili recipe, but to have the most festive booth and costumes. Winning teams are eligible for cash prizes.

“There are so many people that come every year and experience the different teams that have put a lot of effort into the event, into the costumes, and into the recipes,” said Rex Adams, the President of the Firefighters union, and their Chili Cookoff team captain. Adams’ Tuscaloosa Firefighters Local 403 won the competition in 2017.

Throughout the year, the Exchange Club supports several local charities and organizes service projects for its members, such as participating in child abuse prevention programs and honoring local servicemen and women. Many Chili Cookoff participants see this event as a way to give back to a group that gives so much to the community. 

“We are very thankful to the Exchange Club for everything they do to recognize firefighters,” Adams said. “Every year, they hand out a firefighter of the year award, and we are very thankful for their support.”

The funds raised at the Chili Cookoff fund most of the Exchange Club’s efforts in the Tuscaloosa community. Recent beneficiaries include the Boys and Girls Club, King’s Home, and the YMCA.

For more information on the Exchange Club of Tuscaloosa’s work, or the Chili Cookoff, visit 


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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.