The inaugural Steve Smart Memorial Chili Cook-off shut down the 100 block of East Dunklin street Sunday afternoon for a fundraiser to benefit Capital City Farmers Market.
The event was named after Steve Smart, an organizer of the farmers market who recently died in an automobile crash.
Diana Duncan, president of the Capital City Farmers Market Board, said proceeds from the event will go to the market, including education for children about where their food comes from.
Smart, she said, owned Invermos Valley Farms and sold beef and chicken through the market. He was smart and humble man, Duncan said, and an advocate of the market and its goal of "providing fresh and local foods to everyone, with as little of a financial barrier as possible."
Through partnerships, the market, located at 130 E. Dunklin St., is able to offer matching funds for programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as a way to increase the buying power for needy individuals and families.
Duncan said her fundraising goal for the event is $2,000.
Participants sampled six different varieties of chili from these local restaurants: Red Sky Chinese Bistro, Revel Catering, JQ's on High, Ecco Lounge, The Blue Skillet and Green Leaf Cafe.
The Green Leaf Cafe was declared the winner for best chili.
David Gage and his wife, Erica, brought their four children and two foster children. They just moved to town, and a neighbor stopped by their home and said: "We'd like to bless you with these tickets."
"I love it. It's cool," David Gage said, adding he had never been to this area of town before. He's been all over the world and said he likes the small town feel of the stretch along Dunklin Street.
Susan Martin, Smart's sister, said Smart was "analytical, very much a thinker."
He was an engineer, who, in retirement, decided to return to farming full time.
"Steve would be humbled and honored that they choose to name this memorial event in his honor," Martin said. "I know he would want to see this succeed and move forward."