The challenge is set as local cooks will soon square off over simmering pots of chili.
The 11th annual Chili Challenge is Wednesday, March 4, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Park Rapids American Legion.
Sponsored by the Park Rapids Enterprise, this event kicks off local fundraising for the Hubbard County Food Shelf.
March is Minnesota FoodShare Month, where the state allocates funds to food shelf organizations based on local efforts. It’s not a matching fund, but the state looks at how much is raised locally and allocations are based on a funding formula.
Last year’s Chili Challenge raised over $9,000 for the food shelf.
On March 4, chili chefs open up their pots and samplers donate one dollar per cup of chili. Each dollar equals one vote – and ballot box stuffing is encouraged since it all helps the food shelf. A People’s Choice is awarded to whichever chili wins the most votes.
The team to raise the most money also earns top honors.
Last year, the Nevis Lions completed a rare clean sweep as both the top fundraising entrant at $1,870 and their brew, "Hungry, Hungry Lion,” was voted People's Favorite as the best-tasting chili.
This year, 22 contestants – comprising teams, individuals, businesses, civic organizations and church groups – will cook a pot of chili and work the crowd to raise money.
Tantalizing recipes on this year’s menu are “Award-Winning Pepperoni Pizza Chili,” “Venison Steak Chili,” “Chili Chili Bang Bang, “12-Gauge Kick,” “White Chicken Chili” and “Bankin’ Bacon Chili,” plus many more.
Bob Landrigan once again will provide a hand-carved wooden loon and the Park Rapids Crazy Quilters have donated a handmade quilt for the raffle. All proceeds go to the food shelf.