The New Castle Record

Second Annual Chili Cook-Off excites the community

This year’s top winners, along with the championship trophy. They are, from left to right, Faith Taylor (second place) who accepted for Wayne Taylor, Ken Looney (first place) and Donna Francisco (third place)

Pam Dudding
Contributing writer

Many people agree that there is nothing better than a hot bowl of good chili on a cold winter’s day.

On Saturday, February 29, the New Castle Methodist Church hosted its Second Annual Chili Cook-Off. Several cooks brought in their special recipes that were freshly prepared just for the event.

Community members had an opportunity to either enter the competition or be a judge. Both were an option too.

“The event was free for anyone wishing to participate or just wanting to enjoy a great hot meal,” church member Rich Martindell said.

There were small bowls at each crockpot of chili, which had a number on it. Attendees took a sampling of each and voted for the number which they preferred.

Some people had to go back a couple of times to make sure of their favorite selection. After choosing a favorite, attendees then were free to get a big bowl of chili, add a little cheese on top and a hot dog on the side. A variety of desserts was also available.

“Thanks for coming out to our Second Annual Church Community Chili Cook-Off,” Martindell said. “Finally, our community got to vote for something everybody could agree on: real good chili.”

Ken Looney (first place) of Craig Valley Baptist Church, Wayne Taylor(second place) of New Castle United Methodist Church and Donna Francisco (third place) of Craig Valley Baptist Church were the winners.

Everyone enjoyed taste testing all of the chili entries. Here, Carol Looney decided to try various chili samples.

The top three chili chefs each received a trophy. There is a large championship trophy that will be engraved with the winner’s name as well as their church. The trophy will then reside at the winning church until next year’s Church Community Chili Cook-Off, when it will be up for grabs again.

“The real winners were everyone who participated in the judging,” Martindell said. “The chili was excellent and perfect for the recent blast of cold, windy winter weather we have all been experiencing.”

He shared that he will have the honor of presenting the newly engraved trophy to the congregation of Craig Valley Baptist on Sunday.

People are hopeful that the event grows in both popularity and participation.

“We have a lot of room for a bigger event,” Martindell concluded.



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