Boardman Optimist Chili Cook-Off Invites Votes On Best Spices, Beans | News, Sports, Jobs
BOARDMAN – Chili beans. Peppers. Beef. Chicken. Corn bread. Celebrities. The politicians.
After a year off, the annual Chili Cook-Off Politics and Celebrity Party returns next week with all of that, minus one important ingredient – charity fundraising founder Pete Gabriel passed away last month.
“Pete Gabriel started the event,” said Optimist member Jan Cefalu. “We’re always talking about fundraising ideas. We don’t have a big bank account. It was the original idea he had had. It was a success from the start. “
For years, Gabriel hosted shows and was program director on WKBN 570-AM radio. When he heard that other Optimist Clubs were having BBQs in Chile, he pitched the idea to Boardman over a decade ago.
Gabriel died on August 25 at the age of 83. This year there will be a short tribute during his Chili Cook-Off to honor his legacy.
“This is our biggest fundraiser that we do,” Cefalu said.
The festivities are set for 6 p.m. on October 6 at Avion on the Water, 2177 W. Western Reserve Road, Canfield. The event typically attracts 14-17 chili chefs and 300-400 hungry chili tasters.
“We hope to try to get more this year. When you skip a year people sometimes forget, ”Cefalu said.
At the last count, 20 competitors will present 13 peppers. Each stand will also offer side dishes such as crackers, cornbread and spices.
“We (the Optimist Club) provide salad and cakes,” Cefalu said.
The event usually raises around $ 4,000, which the Optimist Club invests in local youth projects, such as the Bike Safety Poster Contest, Essay Competitions and the Boardman Challenger Baseball League, a suitable division. for autistic gamers.
Chiefs this year include State Senator Michael Rulli on board this year; State Representative Al Cutrona; Mahoning County Officials Auditor Ralph Meachum, Sheriff Jerry Green, Engineer Patrick Ginnetti, Archivist Nora Lynn Palermo and Treasurer Dan Yemma; Democratic Party President Joyce Kale Pesta; Republican Party Chairman Tom McCabe; presenter Gerry Ricciutti; and reporter Mark Sweetwood with Justin Dennis and Thea Nixon.
Long-time contender Tom Costello will return to the Boardman Township board of directors.
While fellow directors Brad Calhoun and Larry Moliterno take care of the sides and details, he’ll be making a batch of his standard and family secret recipe chili. He was created by his brother, who passed it on to him. “Someday I’ll pass it on to my kids,” Costello said.
“It’s a great everyday chili,” he said. “It’s not too hot or spicy, but I’m bringing a jar of canned hot peppers.”
He never officially won, but “people love it. Honestly, I come home every year with no more spice.
“It’s a good cause,” he said of the baking. “Boardman Optimists are raising funds to give back to our community.
“It’s a good time… lots of laughs. In my job, I do a lot of things that are not very fun, ”he said. But the Chili Cook-Off is a blast, he said.
Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti will also return, who will share the booth with Commissioner Carol Rimedio Righetti.
“It’s an event that I have been doing since I was elected,” Traficanti said. “It’s a great thing for the community. I have done a lot of events. I like this. I look forward to this. “
Traficanti has refused to reveal his secret recipe other than saying it is “consistency and always using fresh ingredients and spices that I can, and always a touch of love”.
This is a vegetarian chili made with lentils and chili beans, “with a hot sauce on the side”.
Part of the money raised comes from the $ 10 bills, which include a ballot for the Hottest Chili, Most Original Chili, Political Favorite Chili, Celebrity Favorite Chili, and Best of Chile categories. .
In this competition, the filling of the ballot box is encouraged. Additional ballots cost $ 1 each.
There’s also a Chinese auction, which usually contributes around $ 1,000 of the total raised, and the rest is the proceeds from a 50/50 raffle.
This year’s sponsors include State Farm of Poland, Creekside Fitness and Health of Boardman, ServiceMaster Restore of Boardman, Cerimele, Meyer & Wray Accounting of Poland, Asphalt Solutions of Youngstown and Paul’s Auto Collision of Boardman.