EL CENTRO — Although many vendors entered the competition, only one had enough fire in the grill to be crowned champion at the 2016 IV Carne Asada Cook-Off held Saturday afternoon.
“The overall goal for today’s event was to raise money for our charity and bring the community together,” explained Jessica Solorio, founder of Spread The Love Charity. “This is the first year we’ve done this. I’m super happy with the turnout. I was scared about the attendance, but it worked out perfect. A lot of people showed up, probably 1,500 to 2,000.”
From 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., over 50 vendors filled Stark Field to create a fun family event for a greater cause. All proceeds benefited Spread the Love Charity, a non-profit organization located in Imperial Valley.
Although it was a free entry event, sampling tickets cost $1 each, and crowds lined up for booths with sponsors such as Kennedy’s Carne, Las Chabelas Restaurant, and Los Vigilantes.
A live DJ mixing oldie classics kept visitors entertained throughout the event and there was a special performance by the Heber Hawks Drumline.
For guests who weren’t craving carne asada, the cook-off also offered shaved ice, kettle corn, and corn dog booths. Also available was a Bud Beer Garden where guests could get a cold drink to accompany their meal. To entertain the kids, there was a hula hoop area where hula hoops could be purchased and practiced.
There were many other non-food vendors at the event selling local home made goods such as baby blankets, team sports banners, and candles.
Although nine competitors entered the Cook-Off this year, only a select few were able to win over the judges. The first place Grand Champion was awarded to Sepulveda Meats, which originated in Brawley and recently relocated to San Diego. Second place runner-up was awarded to Las Chabelas Restaurant, who also won the Best Salsa award, and the People’s Choice award went to Kennedy’s Tacos.