Chili Fest back for fifth year

Published 9:32 pm Friday, April 6, 2012

Rick Stapleton and his mother, Emm Stapleton, fill cups with chili samples during last year’s Chili Fest. There will be no competing teams this year, but still plenty of chili to go around.

The Suffolk Chili Fest by the SERTOMA Club is returning for its fifth year this year, but in a different format.

There still will be all-you-can-eat chili and other food, entertainment, children’s activities and more. But this year, there’s no competition among teams to see who can cook the most crowd-pleasing chili.

“We were having trouble with getting enough teams to participate,” said George Fischer, a member of the SERTOMA Club, noting that there are many chili competitions in the region. “We decided to change the format a little bit and see if we can spark some interest.”

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This year’s event will be held April 14 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at Bennett’s Creek Park. Tickets are $20 each (free for children under 13) and include all-you-can-eat chili and barbecue, beverages, entertainment by More Cowbell, cornhole and children’s activities.

The money raised will be used by the SERTOMA (SERvice TO MAnkind) Club for its mission of helping young people with hearing and speech impairments.

The organization supports such organizations as public schools and the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters with services for children with hearing and speech impairments. It also purchases hearing aids for people in need, helps parents attend symposiums regarding children’s disabilities and more, Fischer said.

“We just don’t go out and buy a bunch of hearing aids,” he said. “We kind of look for the specific need.”

There are only 500 tickets available, and many are already sold. They can be purchased at the gate or in advance at Walgreens on Bridge Road, Xenith Bank, Arthur’s General Store in Driver or Bon Vivant in Governor’s Pointe.