The 16th annual Chili Challenge, part of a fundraiser for the Ernie Blankenship Radio-Telethon for the benefit of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults, has been set for Wednesday, Feb. 26 at the Highland County Senior Citizens Center. The 2 p.m. event is open to the public and there is no fee to enter either a “hot” or “mild” recipe.
“We encourage the community to participate. It’s a lot of fun and the winning recipes will be used at the Chili Supper and Dessert Auction,” said Mechell Frost, executive director of the senior center.
The Chili Supper and Dessert Auction will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 5 at the Ponderosa Banquet Center in Hillsboro. All proceeds from the event, which has raised more than $32,000 in its previous 15 years, go to the radio-telethon.
Chili Challenge contestants can prepare a hot or mild recipe. The recipes are judged by separate panels of local officials, and once the challenge is over the left over chili is normally shared with the audience.
The winning recipes in each category are prepared by the senior center for the Chili Supper and Dessert Auction. The winners and runners-up receive awards from NCB, usually in the form of gift cards.
There were 17 entries a year ago. Frost said she’d like to see more entries this year.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s for a good cause,” Frost said. “We’d like to get as many entries as possible. They can bring them to the senior center in a crock pot and they need to be here by noon on the day of the challenge. We’ll keep it warm for them, and the participants can hang out at the senior until the event or do whatever else they need to do. We had a lot of new people last year and we hope to have a lot more this year.”
Last year’s winners were Jacquie Barrera, the wife of Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera, in “hot” category and Leesburg resident Sandy Coates in the “mild” category.
Tickets for the Chili Supper and Dessert Auction are $5 presale and $6 at the door. Tickets are available at the senior center, from Hillsboro Rotary Club members and from a long of list of sponsors. Those purchasing tickets can eat at the Ponderosa Banquet Center or carry-out will be available.
Anyone that would like to donate a dessert for the auction can call the senior center at 937-393-4745.
The 48th annual Ernie Blankenship Radio—Telethon will be held from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 at the Hillsboro Orpheum and McClain High School TV studio in Greenfield. It will also be broadcast on 1590 AM and 101.5 FM. It is sponsored by the Rotary Clubs in Hillsboro and Greenfield.
In its previous 47 years, the telethon has raised $3.74 million. The money is used to provide help with medical expenses for those who otherwise might not be able to afford it.
The sponsors for the Chili Challenge and Chili Supper and Dessert Auction include: Amatha Farrens State Farm Insurance, Big Ernie’s Pizza, Chad Abbott Signs, Classic Real Estate Company, Community Market in Hillsboro, Gibbs Insurance Associates, Hillsboro Rotary Club, Highland County Senior Citizens, Hillsboro Ponderosa, NCB, Laurels of Hillsboro, Heartland of Hillsboro, The Times-Gazette, WCHO 105.5 FM, WVNU 97.5 FM, Wendy’s, Valley Wholesale Foods, Herb Day Radio, Ashley and Jordan Rhude and Thomas and Lindsey Talbott.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.