Grab a bowl

Published 8:49 pm Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The popular Suffolk Chili Fest is back for a third helping.

The Chili Fest, presented by the Bennett’s Creek Sertoma Club, will be held April 10 at Bennett’s Creek Park from noon to 5 p.m. The event, which will feature live music, is sanctioned by the International Chili Society.

This year, 18 teams will serve up samples to attendees, who will get the opportunity to vote for their favorite. In addition, a panel of judges will choose their favorite chili, best chili booth and best showmanship.

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“That’s more teams than we had in the first or second year,” said George Fischer, a charter member of the Bennett’s Creek Sertoma Club. “That’s very encouraging.”

The local branches of the Sertoma organization — whose name is taken from the phrase “SERvice TO MAnkind” — use the Chili Fest as a fundraiser to help local children with speech and hearing impairments. Last year, the local club used about $10,000 to buy hearing aids and other equipment to help local children perform better in school. Additional support will go to the Reading Enriches All Children (REACH) programs in Suffolk.

The Chili Fest will also feature chili by the bowl, hot dogs and beverages for sale, a cornhole tournament, jalapeno eating contest, children’s games, clowns, magic shows, vendors and entertainment by musical group More Cowbell.

Fischer said the event’s growth is encouraging.

“Like anything, it begins slow and then it’s growing,” he said. “It’s a fun event.”

Fischer said the group is hoping for good weather and a good turnout on Saturday.

“Let’s see if we can be even more successful,” he said.

Tickets are $10 at the gate (children 12 and under are free). Advance tickets are $5 per family, and may be purchased at the following locations:

SuffolkFirst Bank, 3535 Bridge Road or 1000 N. Main St.

Walgreens Drug Store, 3633 Bridge Road

A Tisket, A Tasket, 1897 Governors Pointe Drive

Arthur’s General Store, 3118 King’s Highway

Suffolk Department of Parks & Recreation (located in Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts — third floor 110 W. Finney Ave.)

Phillips Design Services, 208 E. Plume St. No. 300, Norfolk