Lincoln woman Paula Turzanski proved she was more than capable of “going for the burn”, when she beat off tough competition to win a tongue-tingling chilli-eating competition.
Paula (pictured left) was among a line-up of 10 chill-heads – including one other woman, Fiona Hardy – who sat down in front of a cheering crowd in The Garden at St Marks and sweated their way through a selection of fiery chillies.
Pushing back their hair and dabbing watering eyes, they munched their way through eight colourful varieties, starting with the relatively mild Jalapeno, which has a rating of 3,000 scoville heat units (SHU) to the Peach Habernero, which gives a hit of 350,000 shu, before Paula was declared the winner.
There were actually seven more chilli varieties waiting in the wings and an ecstatic Paula said she wouldn’t have minded trying some more!
“Chillies lift your spirits and make you feel really happy. I am a chilli-addict and I could have carried on and eaten more,” she said.
Australian Fiona Hardy and her husband had travelled miles to attend the Lincoln event.
“We have come down from Manchester for the day, especially for the event. I saw it advertised online and I have been wanting to take part in a chilli-eating contest for about 20 years,” said Fiona.
“I am so happy that I came,” she added, admitting that she had been savvy enough to remove her mascara ahead of the challenge!
Lincoln BIG (Business Improvement Group) teamed-up with St Marks Shopping Centre and worked with Chilli Fest UK to stage the first event of its kind in the city.
Shoppers and visitors were also able to visit more than 17 stalls in St Marks Square, where they could try and buy all manner of chilli products, from dips and sauce to chilli mojitos and chilli tequila beer. Chilli-style jewellery was also on offer.
People also enjoyed chilling out to some great acoustic sounds, from Strummin Steve and Easy Bob, Zeph Brown and The Fyreflies, who were playing in The Garden at St Marks throughout the day.
Lincoln BIG Events & Promotions Manager Michael Armstrong said: “We were delighted to see so many shoppers and visitors spending time at the Chilli Fest and everyone really got into the spirit of the occasion when we announced the chilli-eating challenge.”