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May 31, 2011 > It's all in the beans

It's all in the beans

By Mauricio Segura

What's better than a hearty bowl of chili? A second hearty bowl of chili. And what tops that? How about 30 different varieties of chili to choose from? The 20th Annual Great Rotary Chili Cookoff can be considered the Baskin Robbins of beans bonanza, and it's happening right here in Fremont!

Presented by Area 3 Rotary Clubs and Local Firefighters 1689, the event will be in full swing at The Saddle Rack on Sunday, June 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. With the taste and aroma of great chili in the air, entertaining activities to feast your eyes on and live music to groove to, all of your senses will be highly rewarded.

What began in 1991 as a reasonable fund raising idea to initiate the Tri-City Rotary Club, has turned into a much anticipated annual local event. Held at various Fremont locations and dates since its inception, the chili cookoff has called the Saddle Rack home for the past few years, and catered chili decadence to thousands of guests.

Adult admission is $10 ($8 advanced online purchase) and free for children 6 and under. Each paying guest will receive a booklet which includes six chili tasting tickets, one voting ticket, and valuable coupons from sponsors. Once guests have had their fill and determined a favorite, they give their voting ticket to their cook of choice. The popular vote will determine first, second, and third place winners. Local politicians and community leaders will serve as judges for specialty awards between the firefighters, police, and rotary club entries.

When not sampling the chili, guests will be entertained by great music from local bands like Full Throttle, who will be performing classic rock hits from the '60s to '80s. Star Struck Youth Theatre Company will be belting out Broadway tunes from "The Music Man," and for country music fans, Jewels Hanson & Diablo Road will have the audience steppin' and stompin.'

Local firefighters will be giving safety demonstrations throughout the day and will also have friendly competitions including a tug-o-war challenge between the stations. Various booths will be selling mouth-watering food to go along with the chili; wine, beer, and margaritas will be available to wash it all down. And that's not all... vendors will be selling everything from t-shirts to hand-made jewelry, while specialty booths like the Make A Wish Foundation and others will be handing out information. The day will be topped off with prizes, raffles, and a few surprises you'll just have to go see for yourself.

Proceeds from the event will fund various local charities and vital services such as the Tri-City Rotary Clinic which provides medical care to the homeless; The Alisa Ann Rich Burn Foundation, which enhances the quality of life for burn survivors while promoting burn prevention education throughout the community; Washington on Wheels; and HOPE Project Mobile Clinic.

Whether you're a chili fan or not, there will be plenty to see, do, and enjoy. Plan a great day out with the family at the 20th Annual Great Rotary Chili Cookoff!

Great Rotary Chili Cookoff
Sunday, June 5
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Saddle Rack parking lot
42011 Boscell Road, Fremont
(510) 438-6500
Admission: $8 advance, $10 at gate, ages 6 and under free

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