Over $2,000 were awarded to top chefs on Saturday at the 15th annual Burnin' Down Main Cook-Off competition.

Over $2,000 were awarded to top chefs on Saturday at the 15th annual Burnin’ Down Main Cook-Off competition.

The event brings together amateur competitors to benefit the McPherson Main Street organization.

“We had a perfect weather day and a great turnout,” said Ann Engel, director of McPherson Main Street. “We are so appreciative of every contestant, attendee, volunteer, participant and sponsor that helped make the day a success.”

Over 400 taste-testers wandered from booth to booth to sample each soup or chili and vote for their favorites. Ten teams brought the best of their recipe books, including a sweet potato vegan chili, Oktoberfest-style chili, potato chowder, taco soup and even chili made in a smoker.

Participants purchased $5 wristbands to taste each sample and vote, and proceeds benefit Main Street programs through the year.

“We want to thank all the participants for supporting the efforts of McPherson Main Street and our members,” Engel said.

The people’s choice chili winner was Noffy’s Sandwich Shop, receiving $500. St. Joseph’s Catholic School in second place received $250, and Stupka Chiropractic in third place received $100.

The people’s choice soup winner was the McPherson Sentinel, receiving $500. The McPherson Girl Scouts Troop in second place received $250.

The $200 spirit award was awarded to the Girl Scouts for their festive display of Mexican culture, dance and soup.

In the dessert competition, 14 entries vied for the top prizes while all containing one similar ingredient — cinnamon. The first place winner in the cake or brownie division was Serena Vance, and second place was Taryn Vetter. First place in candy or cookies went to Elizabeth Newby. and second place went to Alana Murphy.

First place winners received $100 and second places received $50 in each category.

While the desserts themselves were judged, the dessert-eaters had a chance to compete as well. Winners of the “No Hands” Pie Eating Contest were Nathan Carr in first, receiving $100, Zac Crane in second, receiving $50, and Josh Engelbrecht in third, receiving $25.

Of course, Burnin’ Down Main isn’t just about the competition. Organizations like the McPherson Dog Park and McPherson Boy Scouts Troop sold popcorn and drinks to benefit their activities as well.

Aside from the food, attendees visited the Touch-A-Truck side to honk horns and get an up-close look at some of the emergency vehicles, farm equipment and other large vehicles they see every day.

Also, 100 pumpkins were given away to McPherson’s youngest artists in the free pumpkin-painting actives.

Engel hopes next year, more participants will take the chance to show off a top recipe, while benefitting programs aimed at enhancing downtown McPherson life.

Check out our Burnin' Down Main photo gallery.