By Jean Ruzicka
Calling all chili chefs!
The Park Rapids Enterprise is hosting the sixth annual Chili Challenge as a kick-off for the Hubbard County Food Shelf food- and fundraising drive in March.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 at the Park Rapids American Legion.
Teams, individuals, businesses, civic organizations and church groups are invited to cook up a pot of chili, recruit samplers and serve the concoction.
Throw down the gauntlet to your competition.
Whacky works. We’re looking to tickle funny bones and taste buds.
Like the Dorset democracy, a buck buys a vote for the coveted “People’s Choice” award.
Chili samplers will donate a dollar per dollop (small cupful) of chili. Ballot box stuffing is welcome. Pre-event “votes” ($$) solicitation is legal and encouraged.
The chili chef/s earning top votes (money-wise) will gain celebrity status and a “People’s Choice” plaque. Theora Goodrich, representing the Coalition of Lake Associations, earned the award last year, raising nearly $3,000 for the food shelf.
The chef claiming tops in taste bud tantalizing will earn People’s Favorite commendations. Diners can cast a ballot for their chosen chili.
Names for the merry medley of spices, beans and meat/poultry/game or vegetarian are encouraged.
Musician Fran Gack is returning to entertain.
Bob Landrigan has once again worked his wizardry on wood to create a loon for the raffle drawing.
The Crazy Quilters have donated an exquisitely crafted quilt to be raffled.
A decadent, delectable array of sweets will cap the event, created by Enterprise pastry chefs.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the Hubbard County Food Shelf.
While the tone will be lighthearted, the mission holds gravity.
Food shelf coordinator Dave Long reports usage continues to rise. In 2014, 349 tons of food were distributed at the Park Rapids site.
The “working poor” is the primary client, Long said.
The amount of food and funds raised in March is the basis for Minnesota FoodShare funding, so the greater the donations, the greater the amount of funding. Families and individuals may request aid once a month.
Become a conquistador of hunger!
Creativity is a key ingredient.
Last year’s event raised $14,500 for the food shelf and hopes are high for another successful feed.
For more information or to sign up as a beanefactor (a.k.a chili chef) see the ad in this edition of the Enterprise, contact Candy or Jean at the Enterprise at 732-3364, or email cparks @parkrapidsenterprise.com or jruzicka@parkrapidsenter prise.com.
Registration forms with day-of-the-event info will also be available at the Enterprise.
A “flexible” registration deadline of Friday, Feb. 20 has been set.