We've got our share of civic organizations here in Malibu. Their seals and emblems cling to the city limit signs like starfish. (Or sea stars, as a marine biologist friend prefers they were called. Sea stars? I think you've got a losing battle there, Josh.)
Each has its own fundraising event that takes a starring role on the city calendar. In the weeks leading to Labor Day, it's all about the Malibu Kiwanis Club's 25th Annual Chili Cook-off and Carnival. And raffle. This year, the Kiwanis are giving away - well, selling for a $100 ticket, but that includes the gift tax, which the Kiwanis I spoke with said they've paid, so it really is only a hundred bucks if you win - a cream-colored PT Cruiser convertible. As of yesterday, fewer than 400 tickets had sold. Pretty good odds.
Over the weekend, a rented chain link fence went up around the vast, empty lot along PCH where the cook-off takes place. It's a dry and weedy expanse dotted with dog poop and gopher holes, and has broken more than a few developers' hearts. (Another story for another time.) Now, as ticket booths go up and bales of straw get delivered, as the P.A. system takes shape and parking attendants practice their smiles, it serves as a real-time advent calendar in the countdown to the official - if not the actual - end of summer.