One of the highlights of The Festival by the Sea – which attracted thousands of visitors to Meggies Burn Fields in Blyth over the weekend – was Rob Dumbrell’s Chilli Eating Competition.
A dozen brave souls entered the eight-round contest which saw the heat level of chillis rise from jalapeno, via Trinidad Scorpion to the hottest of them all – Carolina Reaper.
By then just two competitors remained: Liam Patterson from Newton Aycliffe and the unbeaten UK Chilli Queen Shahina Zeenat Waseem.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Shahina outlasted first-timer Liam who only entered because he said he likes to challenge himself.
For the Chilli Queen, it was tears and triumph as she extended her winning run to 51.
Festival by the Sea organiser Mark Deakin said: “I don’t know how she does it. Well done Liam. Better luck next year.”
This was the second time The Festival by the Sea, presented by the North East Chilli Fest, has taken place at Meggies Burn Fields.
“It’s an ideal location and it was great to see so many people,” said Mark. As well as the Chilli Eating Competition, features of the festival included live music – with performances from The Neville Staple Band, Smoove and Turrell and many others – freshly cooked street food, refreshing cocktails and drinks from the numerous bars on site and a market offering the very best in locally produced food and drink.