The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

February 16, 2014

It's that time — Chili Challenge coming Saturday

— It’s been called one of the most anticipated and biggest fundraisers in the county — an event that has drawn hundreds and fed just as many during the past 26 years. 

The 26th annual Chili Challenge and Silent Auction is right around the corner.

The event, sponsored by Hospice of Limestone County, will be held 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at Athens High School. Food is served at 11 a.m.

Organizers said the Chili Challenge supports Hospice of Limestone County, a nonprofit agency. Hospice provides services for families dealing with the death of a loved one and Camp Hope, a bereavement program for children. Chili Challenge is the agency’s largest fundraiser.

Hospice of Limestone County is widely-known as “the house that chili built.” That is why so many groups and individuals — from all walks of life — are willing to cook up a pot of chili for the event. And, for a small donation participants can try as much chili as they care to eat.

Chili challengers include The Elmore Team, Skills USA, Hickory Barn BBQ, Dental Associates of Athens, Reliance Bank, Eric Smith for Sheriff, First National Bank, Fashion Fun & Friends, A Touch of Class Salon & Day Spa, Federal Mogul, ALFA-Randy Jones, Relay for Life of Limestone County, Mark Yarbrough for Chairman, Home Mortgage of America, Jason Black for District 3 commissioner, LuVici’s, Athens Police Department, The Davis Group PC, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Limestone County DA Brian Jones, Athens-Limestone Public Library, Siebert for Senate, Limestone County Young Farmers’ Committee, McAbee Medical Supply, Robin Craig, Daryl Sammet-All Tree, Athens Dixie Stitchers, Athens Rehabilitation & Senior Care, Singles of North Alabama, Mo Brooks, Limestone County Young Republicans and Consumer First Mortgage.

Chili tasters will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite batch. The chili with most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award.  Three judges will also be present. More than 30 competitors will have a chance to win the Best Booth Design Award as well as the Critic’s Choice Award, which includes winners in both the individual category and the group category.

Events include free chili samples and lunch, children’s activities, musical entertainment, a bake sale and a nine category silent auction, all manned by a team of more than 200 volunteers. Participants will have the opportunity to bid on jewelry and accessories, lessons and services, sporting goods, lawn and garden, entertainment, home furnishings, children’s items, antiques and collectibles and fine arts. The silent auction ends at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets for the event are $10, with free admission for children under 10.

About $50,000 is raised each year through ticket sales, the silent auction and donations from the event, according to Hospice Executive Director Pat King.

“Hospice of Limestone County is such an important organization,” Chili Challenge Chairman Amanda Speegle said. “They serve so many people and their families. If you haven’t had to use Hospice’s services yet, you most likely will some day.”

For more information, go to Hospice of Limestone County Chili Challenge on Facebook.

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