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July 23, 2010 > Chili cook off: a tasty gathering

Chili cook off: a tasty gathering

By Julie Grabowski

The 19th Annual Great Rotary Chili Cook Off will once again visit Fremont's Saddle Rack parking lot as 30 varieties of chili concocted by Rotary clubs, businesses, community and church groups, firehouses, and individual cooks vie for chili supremacy. Reigning champs, The Holy Habaneras, return in an attempt to defend their title and capture the People's Choice Award for the third consecutive year. Other competitions include Best Rotary Chili, Best Firehouse Chili, and Best Decorated Booth.

The day of activities is all about hot stuff so sharing the spotlight are those best suited to controlling the situation, Firefighters from stations in Local 1689 will perform life-saving demonstrations, Jaws-of-Life extractions, fire safety presentations and compete in a Tug-o-War between Fire Houses. Live music performed by Young at Heart, and Jewels Hanson & Diablo Road will add to the festivities and members of StarStruck Theater will perform scenes from their upcoming show "The Music Man." Arts and crafts vendors and additional food booths will be on hand, as well as raffle prizes and kid's activities, including a bounce house, face painting and an educational Fire Safety Trailer.

Area 3 Rotary Clubs of District 5170 are hosting the event and hope to surpass last years' attendance of 2,500 and raise $25,000 to support local charities and people in need.

"We anticipate that this will be our most successful Cook Off to date with about 3,000 chili lovers and their families attending," says Daren R. Young, event chair and president of DRYCO Construction, Inc. of Fremont. "The event was created 19 years ago by the Sunrise Rotary Club as a benefit for the Rotary Tri-City Clinic. The annual Cook Off continues to raise money to meet that need."

"In recent years, we've expanded our beneficiaries to include Washington on Wheels, a mobile clinic that provides screening, immunizations and health education to underserved areas, and the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, the designated charity of firefighters. We've also added the HOPE (Homeless Outreach People Empowerments) Project Mobile Clinic and we support local clubs who volunteer to work the event like Rotoract, and high school sports teams," added Young.

An additional firefighters' charity will be added, determined by the winner of their competitions at the event.

Sponsors of the 19th Annual Great Rotary Chili Cook Off include Fremont Bank, Coach Automotive Restyling, Kinder's BBQ, Local 1689, Washington Hospital Healthcare System, Magnum Drywall, NFL Alumni and Media Sponsor Tri-City Voice. Join them in a great day of friendly competition and community outreach that comes from the heart.

"It's a ton of fun," says Young about the Cook Off. "This event is all about what are we doing in our community... It doesn't get more homegrown than this."

Tickets cost $8 when purchased in advance online, and $10 at the gate. Children age six and under are free. Advanced registration ends Thursday, July 22 at 5 p.m. For more information call (510) 438-6500.

19th Annual Great Rotary Chili Cook Off
Saturday, July 24
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Saddle Rack
42011 Boscell Road, Fremont
(510) 438-6500
Tickets: $8 in advance, $10 at gate

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