Boys & Girls Club Chili Cook-Off

How do you like your chili — with or without beans, hot, mild, white, red or green?

You’ll have these choices and more at the 34th annual Boys & Girls Club Chili Cook-Off, July 16. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Held at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce, this much-loved community event is the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County’s largest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds are a significant source of funding for programs that serve more than 3,000 local children.

The Chili Cook-Off Teams are serving up chili and lots of fixin’s, including cornbread, hot dogs and desserts. Sodas, beer and wine are also available for purchase.

Teams are competing for the Best Fundraiser Award as well as a host of other awards. For just $5 at the Welcome Booth, you can get the Chili Sampler with five chili sample cups and a ballot to vote for the People’s Choice Chili Award.

Last year, the HCA Lawnwood and St. Lucie Medical Center won the coveted overall Challenge trophy.

This year’s theme is “Academy Award Winning Films.” A record-setting 40 teams will compete for the Best Booth and Costume awards. The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s team chose the classic Western “Gunfight at the OK Corral.”

The St. Lucie Mets, another team with a long Chili Cook-off history, chose “Lord of the Rings.” Christ Fellowship PSL, a first-time team, chose “Finding Nemo” as their theme.

From “Gone With the Wind” hoop-skirts to “Jurassic Park” dinosaurs and “Star Wars” light sabers — the teams this year are going above and beyond to win awards and raise money for the Boys & Girls Club.

Fun activities throughout the day include raffles, games for the kids, Jail ‘n Bail and chili-eating contests.

Music will be provided by Traxx Entertainment, local radio stations and live bands. The annual Pee Wee Pepper contest, open to boys and girls ages 2 to 5, will be at 3 p.m.

Richard Del Toro is the Volunteer Chairman heading up this event. An 18-year employee of the Port St. Lucie Police Department, Del Toro serves as the Assistant Chief of Police. He joined the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Board last year and jumped right in as Chair of the Steak & Stake fundraiser.

“Before I joined the Board, I did my homework and found that only 13 percent of the Boys & Girls Clubs’ budget goes to administrative costs. That’s impressive,” said Del Toro. “The theme at the Boys and Girls Clubs is ‘Great Futures Start Here,’ and it’s true. We’re proud of the work we’re doing to help so many kids reach their full potential. And, we’re grateful for all the amazing outpouring of support from the community.”

As the Chili Cook-Off Chair, Del Toro is working alongside club staff and volunteers to make sure this year is the most successful yet.

“The Chili Cook-Off is all about having fun for the right reasons — helping children,” said Del Toro. “I’m positive we’re going to reach our $60,000 goal — and even go over.”

With 16 locations throughout the county, the Boys & Girls Clubs after school and summer programs serve a diverse group of youth, ages 5-18.

Chili Cook-Off sponsors: A Law Firm of Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PNC Bank, St. Lucie Draft House, John Jacobs Construction, St. Lucie County Fair Association, PSL Police Dept., WastePro, St. Lucie Mets, Treasure Coast Ear Nose & Throat, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, Harbor Community Bank, Nelson Family Farms, Motorola, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Center State Bank, Applebee’s, DiBartolomeo, McBee, Hartley & Barnes, P.A., St. Lucie County Sheriff, Fort Pierce Elk’s Lodge, Traxx Entertainment, Southern Eagle Distributing, DLF Media, Publix Super Markets Charities, Varsity Sports Shop.

For information, to reserve a booth, or become a sponsor, call 772-460-9918 or visit BGCofSLC.org.

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