MALIBU—The annual event Malibu Chili Cook-Off, scheduled for Labor Day weekend has been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“This was a very difficult decision that we hoped would come to a different outcome,” organizers wrote in a statement published on July 14. “With the recent spikes in cases and the near future being unpredictable, we feel this is the best decision in interest of our community’s health and safety. We have weighed all possible options, and we cannot hold an event that may further jeopardize the well-being of our community.”

The cook-off is one of the longest Malibu traditions which kickstarted as a fundraiser and chili contest in 1981, hosted and run by the Malibu Kiwanis Club for 36 years before the Boys and Girls Club of Miami continued the tradition after 2018. Along with the chili cook-offs, there is live music, silent auctions, free arts and craft and carnival rides available.

“I fell in love with the Boys & Girls Club programs, and how they’re supporting all five schools in Malibu—especially their Wellness Program,” said Molly Scott, the lead event organizer  referring to the prior 2018 cook-off. The fair had nearly 70 local volunteers working each day during Labor Day weekend in 2018.

Despite the cancellation, Malibu businesses are continuing to donate in support of the BGCM and encourage people to buy limited edition merchandises and products that will go towards the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu and other nonprofit organizations.