Chili Cook Off returns


After foregoing the event for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 17th annual Chili Cook Off will take place Tuesday, March 7 at 11:45 a.m. at Hillsboro VFW Post 9094.

The Chili Cook Off, coordinated by the Hillsboro Rotary Club, is a precursor to the annual Chili Supper & Dessert Auction that will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, March 20 at VFW Post 9094.

“In 2020, we had 21 entries, so we’re hoping since it’s kind of a comeback year to get 15 or so entries,” said event coordinator and Hillsboro Rotary Club member Amy Hamilton. “There is a hot category as well as a mild category, so I’m hoping that we have a little bit of competition in both of those because we are going to choose two winners, a first and a second place, in each category.”

Hamilton said the supper raised about $2,800 in 2020, the largest amount in the history of the event. All proceeds benefit the Ernie Blankenship Telethon for the Benefit of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults that will take place for the 51st time this year Wednesday, March 29 at the Hillsboro Orpheum, 135 N. High St..

There is no entry fee for the Chili Cook Off. To enter, contestants can visit, contact Hamilton at 937-403-8181, or enter at the event at the VFW at 11:30 a.m. on the day of the event.

The winner and runner-up in each category will receive an engraved wooden spoon, a spatula, a chili towel and gift cards.

The cook off is open to the public.

“This year it’s actually going to be judged by the Rotary Club itself, so we are going to have the judging during our March business meeting,” said Hamilton. “We will have each pot labelled with a number and then they are going to choose in a blind judging.”

“We can open up the back and have that open to the public if anyone wants to come during our meeting,” she said. “If we can get everyone to bring stuff there by 11:30 then we’ll go ahead and do our judging as well as conduct our monthly meeting.”

The winning recipes are then prepared by Kroger for the Chili Supper & Silent Auction. It is a dinner of chili, cornbread, brownies, desserts and beverages. Tickets are $5 presale and $6 at the door. Presale tickets can be purchased in Hillsboro at Classic Real Estate, First State Bank, the Highland County Senior Citizens Center, The Times-Gazette and the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce.

Desserts, made by various community members, will be auctioned off by Rick Williams during the event at about 6:15 p.m.

Sponsors are still being sought for the event and interested sponsors can contact Hamilton at 937-403-8181.

“We’re just excited to bring it back this year from COVID, so we’re hoping to get a good turnout and bring it back the way we used to have it,” said Hamilton.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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