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July 20, 2010 > Chili cook off: a tasty community gathering

Chili cook off: a tasty community gathering

By Julie Grabowski

Rotary clubs unite once more to present the 19th Annual Great Rotary Chili Cook Off Saturday, July 24. Held in the parking lot of Fremont's Saddle Rack, the event will ladle up 30 varieties of chili concocted by Rotary clubs, businesses, community and church groups, firehouses, and individual cooks. 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.

Admission price includes six tasting tickets and one voting ticket. Attendees turn in their voting ticket to their favorite chili booth, and at the end of the day the booth holding the most tickets is declared the winner. Other competitions include Best Rotary Chili, Best Firehouse Chili, and Best Decorated Booth.

But the day is not entirely about great chili. Firefighters from six to eight stations in Local 1689 will be performing life saving demonstrations, Jaws-of-Life extractions, fire safety presentations, and facing off in a Tug-o-War between Fire Houses. Attendees can enjoy live music from Young at Heart, and Jewels Hanson & Diablo Road, 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, educational Fire Safety Trailer as well as additional fire safety instructions.

The hosting Area 3 Clubs of District 5170 Rotary International is comprised of six clubs: Niles, Fremont, Mission San Jose, Fremont Warm Springs Sunrise, Newark, and FUN (Fremont, Union City, Newark) Sunset. They 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 clinics (for uninsured residents) were held regularly and staffed by volunteer physicians, but needed funds for prescription medications and laboratory work. 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 also be aided, determined by the winner of their competitions at the event.

"It's all about giving back to the community; we try to give as much as we can back to local beneficiaries so they can help those in need in our own community," says Young.

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, "but it's to keep the main thing the main thing; 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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