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Twenty-one local chefs have stepped up for the food shelf Chili Challenge fundraiser

Chili Challenge

A merry band of chili chefs has risen to the challenge.

Twenty-one pots of chili will be ready for sampling midday (11 to 1:30) Wednesday, March 3 at the Park Rapids American Legion.

The Park Rapids Enterprise is hosting the Chili Challenge as a fundraiser for the Hubbard County Food Shelf.

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 and encouraged.

The chili chefs earning top votes (dinero-wise) will gain celebrity status.

Fran Gack will add musical entertainment. And the Crazy Quilters have lent their wizardry to the occasion. Raffle tickets for a donated handmade quilt are available at Citizens National Bank and will be sold at the Chili Challenge. The drawing will be held at the conclusion of the event.

The chefs stepping up to the plate (bowl) to create some cassoulets-with-a- kick include:

n Gary and Becky Walpole who will be serving some FAT (Friends Around the Table).

n Kathy Belt will be contributing to "Global Warming" with her vat of venison, brown beans and Thai dragon peppers with Mexican cumin thrown in for good measure.

n Food columnist Amy Thielen is concocting Drunken Cowboy (Guinness-Guajillo) chili.

n Firefighter Pat Mikesh will add a Barn Burner to the menu.

n Citizens (Cal's Gals), State (Chili Chili Bang Bang) and Northwoods (Show Me the Money) bank chefs will be providing epicurean adventures. The banks are holding in-house cook-offs to determine who will claim the distinction of official chef for Wednesday's event.

n Betsy Meyer of St. Joseph's Hospice is serving her 12-year-old son's award winner, It's the Shiz.

n Sheriff Frank Homer will be Packin' Heat for the occasion.

n The Good Life Café is sending in some Great Bowls of Fire.

n A trio of Mary Kay consultants will be contributing a Marvelous Miracle Makeover (Nikki Stopka), an Anti-Aging Fountain of Youth (Danielle Stumbo) and some Pink Passion (Kristina Yliniemi).

n County commissioner Don Carlson will provide Doc's Crock.

n Mary Scully, representing Trinity Church, will bring some healthy chili to the table.

n Dacle Schmid of the Dorset S&B will be serving the Boys' Blend, four concoctions mingled. (Warning: explosion likely.)

n Kathy Dennis will hook samplers with some "reel chili" (while subtly promoting husband Ernie's reel repair).

n Mike and Helen Sheeran of Superior Sewing and Embroidery will provide Sew Good Chili. They are also contributing a $25 door prize.

n Food shelf volunteer Bob Berdahl is sure to SCORE (another of his volunteer ventures) with his Gourmet Delight.

n Diners will gobble Joe Markovic's turkey chili.

n LuAnne White will share her nefarious Choco-Chili.

n And Cathy Atnesen will use cashews as her central ingredient for this nutty stew.

The "newspepper" staff will be concocting a neutral vat of chili with a freewill offering received for a bowlful.

A decadent, delectable array of chocolates will cap the event, created by Enterprise chocolatiers.

All proceeds benefit the Hubbard County Food Shelf.