The Chili Fest that was planned for Saturday, April 6 at Depot Park has been canceled.

Event organizer Bill McCartney said that half of the registered chili teams were no longer able to participate, so the decision was made Friday to cancel the event because “you can’t have a Chili Fest without enough chili.”

“We’ve learned lots of lessons this year and had a great plan for activities and fun for all ages,” McCartney said. “We had people as far away as Montevallo, Huntsville, and Guntersville calling to get details on the Chili Fest and were planning on coming. We still think it’s a great idea for tourism, in addition to something fun for local families, but we need to go back to the drawing board and figure out why we were not successful with the chili teams.”

Chili Fest was a fundraiser to help with the opening of the Red Door Cafe and Thrift, a cafe inside of a thrift store- using the Cracker Barrel style dining model. At the end of the year, all of the funds raised through the store will go back into the community, half will go to Christian outreaches and missions, and the other half will go to non-profits in Cullman.

On Monday, McCartney and others involved will discuss the opening of the Red Door Cafe and Thrift, as the meant to be a beneficial factor in it’s opening. Despite the cancellation, McCartney feels organizers still have their best foot forward.

“We have an individual who is willing to help us with a substantial gift and  will be available the day we open,” McCartney said. “We do hope to try to have the Chili Fest event next year.”

As for why they call it Red Door Thrift, McCartney said it signifies a place of safety.

“Actually, God started the idea about 3,400 years ago,” McCartney said. “In Exodus, Moses tells us how the Israelites were told to put blood around their doors to keep those inside safe as God swept through Egypt killing the first born children and animals. And since churches were still recognized as places of political and legal asylum they revived the idea of using red doors as a sign of safety. Red doors were easy to spot and if someone being chased by the authorities could make it through them before being caught, they would have asylum. Once inside, priests fed and clothed whoever had come to them for help while also working to broker a just outcome.”

For more information on the Red Door Cafe and Thrift contact Bill McCartney at 256-338-3074. Interested in donating to the Red Door Cafe and Thrift? Visit:

Lauren Estes can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 270 or at

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