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Linden’s ChiLLy Fest returns for second year

The City of Linden will open up this weekend as the town celebrates its second annual ChiLLy Fest celebration.

While one of the main programs of the festival is Saturday’s chili cookoff, there will be two days’ worth of fun and entertainment for the entire family.

“Everything is going well,” said ChiLLy Fest organizer Bruce Ward. “We have a number of participants lined up for this year’s parade, including Alabama Pipes and Drums, Linden High School and Marengo Academy cheerleaders. Several businesses will have floats in the parade, and we’ll have old cars, Smokey the Bear, Firebrands for Christ and several entrants who haven’t come in yet. We’ve got several organizational vendors — like from churches and other organizations.

The celebration kicks off this Friday evening with a carnival at 4 p.m. on Shiloh Street in front of Linden Elementary School. The set-up for the chili cooking teams and the live band party begins at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, ChiLLy Fest gets into full swing, as the arts and crafts vendors and food vendors open their booths at 8 a.m. The Poot-n-Scoot Chili Run begins at the fire station on Highway 28 East at 9 a.m., and the Kids’ Fun Run begins at the same locale at 10 a.m.

The Chili Run is a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) run, while the Fun Run is a one-mile event.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Show and Shine Car Show will be held in the Papa’s Foods parking lot. Information about that show can be obtained from Joann Schroeder at (334) 295-5058, and is sponsored by Schroeder Body Shop.

The carnival rides begin on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the chili cookoff begins at noon at the fire station. Chili judging will take place from 3 to 4 p.m.

“The carnival will have even more rides than last year,” Ward said. “We’ve got several cookoff teams for our chili cookoff.”

There will be a singing at the gazebo downtown from 4 to 6 p.m., and the Parade of Lights will be held downtown, beginning at 6:30 p.m., with Santa Claus serving as the grand marshal. The fireworks show will follow immediately after the parade.

“As the grand marshal, Santa Claus will be at the front of the parade this year,” Ward said. “There will not be a Santa in the back of the parade. Our fireworks display will immediately follow the parade.

“Carnival tickets can be bought at City Hall. Tickets sell for $12 in advance and $15 at the gate. The advance tickets can be used either Saturday morning or Saturday evening if they aren’t used on Friday. Tickets can be purchased for each time you go in. If you want to go Saturday morning and then again on Saturday evening, you have to buy another ticket.”

ChiLLy Fest T-shirts are also on sale now at Linden City Hall. For more information, contact City Hall at (334) 295-5051. Participation forms and information about Linden’s second annual ChiLLy Fest can be found online at www.chillyfest.com or at the city’s Web site, www.lindenalabama.net.