Well, we did it! And what a wildly successful event it was. Our first ever Chili Cook Off event!
It started as an idea to have an event that would raise money for a good cause and have community involvement. We thought a rivalry between Strathcona County RCMP and the firefighters seemed like a good idea. Firefighters can cook and the RCMP would be happy for the chance to show them up! Both teams agreed!
Choosing Kid's with Cancer as our charity was a natural as my niece was diagnosed with Non Rhabdomyosarcoma Soft Tissue Sarcoma in 2010. Although she is now cancer free, we got to see first-hand how some wonderful charities made her journey a little easier -- one of those being Kid’s with Cancer Society. We found out that the Kids with Cancer Society has been providing vital services to children with cancer and their families for over 30 years through support programs and research.
With the event details in place, we began our fundraising efforts in earnest. We approached local businesses and our suppliers to donate items for the silent auction that we wanted to run during the event. The support was enormous. We collected more than 20 items! There were items from All-Clad, LeCreuset, Pandora, Zwilling Henckels, Trudeau and more. LeCreuset even generously donated the stock pots the teams used to cook their chili. Compostable plates and cutlery were used for service. Greenmunch of Sherwood Park made this possible by providing us with their palm leaf bowls and aspen forks. A definite do-again for upcoming events.
We anticipated selling 75 tickets for the event, which included a bowl of each of the competitors chili, a beverage, and a chance to cast your vote. All tickets sold in the first half hour! Luckily the teams had made plenty of chili and we were able to sell more than 130 tickets.
The firefighters had an early start and were prepping by 8:30 a.m. Clearly an advantage as they had claimed the entire kitchen as their own. Once the RCMP arrived they had to fight back for their stake of the kitchen. By noon it was starting to smell mighty good in the store as both teams had their chili simmering away.
Competition was close as both chili's were fabulous! Firefighters prepared a chicken chili with a kick accompanied with all the fixins' and RCMP served up a traditional chili with exciting additions like bacon and sausage and homemade cornbread on the side. There were plenty of firefighters on hand as Fire station number 1 sent out their entire team along with three fire trucks and their mascot Sparky.
Once everyone's belly was full and the silent auction closed, votes were tallied. To our surprise, the votes were ridiculously close. Bridgette from RCMP, put on her finest and piped in the winners, bagpipe style. By a vote of 67 to 70, the firefighters pulled off the win!
All in all, we raised over $2900 for Kid's with Cancer and had a fantastic day. Both teams thoroughly enjoyed themselves and expressed interest in participating again. So, to that end, we begin planning for Chili Cook Off 2014!
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