CHILI FOR CHARITY TO HELP SEVEN GROUPS Proceeds from the 2009 Chili for Charity Cook-off will help seven local organizations, organizers announced.
The event will be held Oct. 17 at Paradise Spring Historical Park.Those organizations benefitting from this year’s event are Hands of Hope, the Honeywell Arts Program, the Learn More Center, the Dallas L. Winchester Senior Center Food Pantry, Special Olympics of Wabash County, The Access and the Youth Service Bureau of Wabash County. “I’ve never been involved in a fundraiser where so much fun is had by all,” said Bob McCallen III, chair of this year’s Chili for Charity Cook-off committee.The event is the largest chili cook-off east of the Mississippi River. Last year, 97 teams registered, but 90 actually participated in the event, now in its seventh year. Indiana ranked about fourth in the nation in money raised at chili cook-off events.“We were the lion’s share of that,” McCallen noted.All money raised from the event is returned to Wabash County charities. Last year, the Chili for Charity group topped the &36100,000 mark in funds donated to charity.“We expect to exceed &36150,000, collectively, after this year’s event,” McCallen said.Registration for this year’s event begins at 7 a.m. Cooking begins at 8:30 a.m. and sampling chili will begin at noon.Admission is &365 per person. That entitles visitors to sample as many chilies as they can until supplies run out.Participants are encouraged to cook between five and seven gallons of chili for sampling.Most of the booths are decorated with various themes.“There is no one theme (for the event),” McCallen said. “Themes are set by the team’s participating in the showmanship competition. They run the gamut (of themes and decorations).”The cook-off also serves as a Chili Appreciation Society International judging site.Teams participating in the CASI competition or the general cook-off follow a stringent set of safety guidelines, such as use of USDA inspected meat, cooking with pots with lids and not being allowed to use home canned ingredients.The only exceptions are that CASI competitors are not allowed to use chili mixes, though commercial chili powder is acceptable, and the use of fillers, such as beans, pasta and rice are not allowed.In addition to the chili sampling, there will be children’s activities and raffles at the event.Anyone interested in forming a team may obtain registration forms at Market Street Grill, Old Kettle Saloon or First Merchants Bank, Chippewa Branch.

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