Local schools stand to benefit — and hundreds of stomachs will enjoy the tasty and spicy varieties of chili — at the annual State Bank Financial Chili Cook Off to be held on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Riverside Park in La Crosse.
This is the 25th year of “heartburn and caring” for the Chili Cook Off. State Bank Financial has raised more than $250,000 for local charities during that time and is hoping this year’s event will be the biggest fundraiser ever.
Proceeds from the event this year benefit the La Crosse Public Education Foundation and the La Crosse D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program.
A cook team of students from Longfellow Middle School, coached by consumer education teacher Sarah Schams, is a perennial contender in the People’s Choice voting — which is done by chili samplers who make donations into jars at each booth at the event. More than 20 teams of cooks are already registered, including a team from the School District of La Crosse School Nutrition Staff, which is being assisted by Board members of the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.
Admission to the event is $7 — plus attendees are encouraged to bring coins and cash to donate to their favorite chili-makers. In addition to the People’s Choice champion (the highest “vote-getter” in terms of cash collected during the event), an area chef will select a “Chef’s Choice” winner, and State Bank Financial CEO and President Tim Kotnour picks his “President’s Choice” champion.
Spoons and sampling cups are provided. Chili tasting runs from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. (or when cooks run out of chili).
Please come early for an 11 a.m. performance by Central High School band members, under the direction of Robert “Bix” Swerman and Nick Hansberry. Students will play some upbeat and fun music in a riverside performance prior to the opening of the gates for chili tasting.
Special thanks this year to two Chili Cook Off sponsors — Viterbo University and Brickl Bros — for providing additional support to the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.
See this report and photos from the 2015 Chili Cook Off.
See this report and photos from the 2014 Chili Cook Off.