|A look back at SOAR! Chili Cook-off|
One word- “Wow!” That would sum up our 5th SOAR! Chili Cook-off, which was held on March 14th. We had an exceptional turnout and we are very elated at the amount of funds raised- $4,300.00- to help us in promoting adult and family literacy in Washington County.
We had seven teams compete this year along with two more non-competing teams with our “Hall of Fame” table. In all, those who attended were able to try nine varieties of chili- ranging from white chili to pulled pork chili and from ghost pepper chili to down home chili. Also, those in attendance got to top their chili off this year- at the “chili bar.” Admission also includes peanut butter sandwiches along with a drink.
This year’s chili teams did not hold back on the decorations- We had chili booth decorations from fireman, police, county fairs, spring, autism awareness and hillbillies too. Awards were given to our chili teams for- Judged Best Chili, People’s Choice Best Chili and Best Decorated Booth. The recipients were: Judge Best Chili 1st place- Autism Awareness, Runner-up- Hunt Rippey Law. People’s Choice 1st place- Autism Awareness, Runner-up- Hillybilly Chili. Best Decorated Booth- Autism Awareness. I am very grateful for the teams’ participation and their excitement about competing. This year’s cook-off had an overall western theme, right down to the kid’s entertainment area.
Also, new this year was the silent and live auctions! The auctions turned out to be a great addition! Tom Day volunteered his auction service and conducted the full fledge live auction. It made a nice fun fundraising addition to our Cook-off! We look forward to having the auctions again next year.
Being new at the helm, I was very excited at the turn-out of the cook-off and of the positive feedback. I was overjoyed that everything came together and that our vision became reality! But, to make the cook-off all come together I have to thank the following: All of our event table sponsors: Habanero- Jeans’ Extrusions and WSLM Radio; Jalapeno- Delta Kappa Gamma, Salem Crossing, First Harrison Bank and Leader Publishing; Pepperoncini Level- David W. Morris- Edwards Jones, Washington County Assessor’s Office, Jason Cockerill- Assessor, St. Vincent Salem Hospital, Ace Hardware-Bob Strange and Ron Haendiges State Farm Insurance. Our in-kind Donors- JayC Food Store of Salem, Arby’s , Christie’s, McDonald’s, Sav-A-Lot, Ace Hardware of Salem, Wendy’s, Cobblestone Inn and Suites, John Jones Automotive Group, Marion Spices, Big Splash Adventures, Dr. Black’s Eye Associates of Salem- Dr. Mindy Gunn, Hand & Co., Farmboy Photography, Huckster’s Hall,Dan Voyles Heating & Cooling, Hunt’s Hard Surface Solutions, Salem Barber Shop, Wayne’s Barber Shop, Leader Publishing, Shady Patch Farms, Troy Merry for Mayor, Denise & Frank Newkirk, Stephen & Rhonda Harris, Marilyn Hall and Tom Day.
Also, a big thanks to our panel of judges, who took time out of their busy schedules to judge: Toni Brittingham with Christie’s on the Square and Vanessa Newkirk with Salem Apothecary and special tie-breaker judge Chuck Williams.
Tremendous thanks to everyone who helped with planning, set-up and clean-up of the event. Each one of you knows who you are and have been given a big squeeze. It takes a whole village to put on the Cook-Off, which is symbolic of it takes a whole community to increase the literacy rate of this community.