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Chili cookoff a labor of love for Democratic stalwart

Gabe Rubalcava has been involved in event for nearly a quarter-century

It’s been his labor of love for much of the past quarter-century, and Gabe Rubalcava again is back as a co-chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s annual chili cookout.

“They pull me out one time a year,” Rubalcava chuckled at the Aug. 2 party meeting, where he highlighted plans for what is the traditional Arlington Democratic campaign-kickoff event.

It’ll be held on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 4) from 2 to 5 p.m. at its traditional venue – Lyon Park Community Center.

The event pits local campaigns and others in a battle for chili supremacy. From sweet to ultra-hot, from vegetarian to filled with meats of all kinds, the options are plentiful.

Rubalcava announced plans to “spice it up a bit” for the 2023 competition: For the first time, actual trophies will be awarded both to the first-place chili and also to the people’s-choice honoree.

Arlington County Democratic Committee chair Steve Baker said he was glad that Rubalcava, who has actively supported the event since the very early 2000s, continues his efforts.

“He has made this a great event for many, many years,” Baker said.