BY AMY ROSE
The seventh annual Aussie Fall Fest Chillin' N Grillin' attracted a crowd estimated at 5,000 people to downtown Greeneville on Saturday.
Many of those who attended sampled chili, wings, and barbecue cooked by teams that competed for prizes.
The event of the Tourism Department of the Greene County Partnership also included musical entertainment, 25 craft booths, five food vendors, several informational booths and an area for children's activities.
"The weather was perfect," said Tammy Kinser, the GCP's tourism director. "It wasn't too hot, and it wasn't too cold," she said of temperatures in the 60s. "It was gorgeous."
Kinser said this year's crowd was the biggest one since the event started seven years ago.
Also, more teams participated in the barbecue competitions this year, she noted.
The competitions included nine barbecue teams and four chili teams.
The overall winner was a team called "We Be Que'n."
"I love to see the names they come up with," Kinser said of the creative names teams gave themselves.
Those who paid $3 to sample all the foods voted for People's Choice and Showmanship, both of which were won by the Vulcan Rockers.
Others winners were:
* Best Beans -- first place, Pig-In-A-Poke; second place, Rollin' Smoke; and third place, We Be Que'n.
* Kids Q (for ages 14 and under) -- first place, Chase Waggoner; second place, Hannah Lovergine; and third place, Nadi Lovergine.
* Chili -- first place, Vulcan Rockers; second place, New Life Apostolic Church team Beth; and third place, New Life Apostolic Church team Wayne.
* Wings -- first place, The Last Smokers Standing; second place, Big Sky Barbeque; and third place, We Be Que'n.
* Ribs -- first place, Pig-In-A-Poke; second place, Phil's Dream Pit; and third place, Joe's Barbecue.
* Pulled Pork -- first place, We Be Que'n; second place, Pig-In-A-Poke; and third place, East Tennessee Que Crew.
The main stage featured a "great mix" of entertainment, Kinser said, including: Nashville recording artist Trey Hensley, New Salem Baptist Church, The Fugitives, New Life Apostolic Church, Oak Grove Free Will Baptist Church, West Side Church of God, and "Faith" from Friendship Baptist Church.
"It was really good to see so many churches involved," Kinser said. "I appreciate everybody participating."
Also part of the event was a cornhole tournament, sponsored by Farm Credit Services, a Metric Century Bike Race and the Keep Greene Beautiful 3-Mile Walk.
The bike race to benefit the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation attracted approximately 39 entries, some from surrounding counties, Kinser said.
A total of 57 walkers participated in the Keep Greene Beautiful walk, sponsored by Laughlin Memorial Hospital.
The children's area was a popular spot at the event, especially an inflatable attraction where children wore Velcro suits and jumped up to stick to a wall.
Kinser said the community always comes together to make the event a success.
The Greeneville Light & Power System and Andrew Johnson National Historic Site allowed the use of their parking lots.
The Greeneville Fire Department and the Greene County-Greeneville Emergency Medical Services (EMS) had personnel on hand.
Sponsors for the event included: MECO (title sponsor), GL&PS as the T-shirt sponsor, as well as Andrew Johnson Bank, Animal Medical Center of Greeneville, C&C Millwright, Consumer Credit Union, DTR, East Tennessee Promotions, GreenBank, Greeneville Federal Bank, Holston United Methodist Home for Children, John Deere, LMR, Marsh Petroleum, McInturff, Milligan & Brooks, Radio Greeneville, Road Show Mobile Stages, The Greeneville Sun and Walmart Distribution Center.