DEL MAR — Family fun, fiery food and a flock of featherless fowl highlighted the Rotary Club of Del Mar’s second annual Chili & Quackers Challenge held Oct. 2 in front of Powerhouse Park.
With 10-year-old Gianna Gallo serving as the Duck Princess, the fundraiser featured a chili cook-off for restaurants and individuals, crazy hair designs, live Caribbean music and a 50/50 cash drawing worth about $250.
The event culminated with Del Mar Lifeguards releasing 1,891 rubber ducks into the Pacific Ocean. The owners of the first 14 ducks to cross the finish line won prizes that included a flat-screen TV, an Apple iPad and iPods, artwork, diamond earrings and magnums from Duckhorn Wineries, of course.
The cost to enter the chili cook-off was $50 for restaurants and $20 for individuals. Tastes were $1 each. Judging was based on aroma, consistency, red color, taste and after taste.
Americana’s chipotle chili beat out Jimmy O’s and Via Capri II in the restaurant division. Di Holker’s Bewitchili, a winner in last year’s event, earned top honors among the 16 individual contestants, while Brian and Stephanie Grasso’s Chililicious won for best presentation.
Rubber ducks were available for $10 for a single quack or in discounted packs that ranged from $25 for a quackers trio up to $100 for a flock of 20.
Del Mar lifeguards emptied four buckets of ducks into the ocean. The rubber racers bobbed around for about five minutes before one good wave took them ashore, where everyone, including lifeguards with nets, collected them for reuse next year.
Ducky Derby winners were Sue Silva, Gary Levitt, John Hayden, Dick Wheelock, Ryan Feartherson, Tracy Clippinger, Ron and Nancy Stinson, Janet Handzel, Chris Vandewater, Saleh Hassanein, Niki Bradley, Pete Fernandez, Fernanda Rodriguez and John Sorenson.
The event raised about $20,000 that will be used to fund various Rotary Club projects. Founded in 1954, the Rotary Club of Del Mar has more than 80 active members and is one of 32,000 clubs worldwide. The group meets weekly at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. For more information or to join, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.delmarrotary.org.