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36th Annual Chili Bowl to take place at The Dairy Barn Arts Center

The radio station Power 105 WXTQ  / 97 WATH’s 36th Annual Chili Bowl will bring both spicy and sweet chili recipes to the table Saturday at The Dairy Barn Arts Center, 8000 Dairy Ln.

There will be five judges tasting the chili, including Athens County Sheriff, Rodney Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Reuse Industries, Zebulon Martin, Chef Francis McFadden of Shade Winery, Jennifer Yanity from Hocking College and Shawna Stump, a State Farm insurance agent in Athens. A people’s choice component will also be included, in which each person given a bowl will be given a ballot to vote for which chili they think is the best.

“Each year we name a benefactor organization, and every year it’s been a different organization,” Dave Palmer, owner and president of 97 WATH, said. “The organizations are usually based near the Athens area.”

There will be three categories of chili in the competition: mild n’ tasty, hot n’ spicy, and vegetarian.

Proceeds will go to the Athens Area Stand Down organization. The organization supports homeless veterans and veterans in need.

“The Chili Bowl has been to a number of places in Athens, including the fairgrounds and by the farmers market,” Dave said. “But this year it’s at the Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center.”

Dave said he hopes the annual cook-off will be held at the Dairy Barn for several years to come.

Nic Palmer, vice president in general sales management of 97 WATH, believes that, due to the Halloween festivities in Athens this weekend, there is a certain degree of conflict. 

“Even with all the other events going on, we encourage people to stop by and help raise money for a very charitable organization,” Palmer said.

Palmer thinks that now that fall has kicked into gear, with football games and Halloween, there is usually more than one exciting event happening on the weekend

“We embrace the other local activities, and we’d like to find ways to partner with other organizations, allowing people to go from one event to another,” Palmer said.

In its earliest years, the Chili Bowl was held during the summertime when there higher attendance and fewer conflicts. Eventually people questioned why attendees would want to eat chili on a hot summer day. It was then changed to take place during the fall.

All children 12 and under who attend Lowe’s Kids Safety Day get a stamp, and get a free bowl at the Chili Bowl.

There will be entertainment at the Chili Bowl. A few local bands will play during the event, the Dairy Barn gallery will be open, Reuse Industries art will be on display and refreshments will be available.

97 WATH is partnering with ReUse Industries, a local company in which people take recycled items to and turn them into art. A judging competition for the art will happen at the same place at the same time as the Chili Bowl.

“People can listen to some music, have a little beverage, have a little chili and check out the art,” Palmer said.

Josh Straus said he and his Ohio University roommate Mark Brunton entered the competition in 1999. 

“We did not do well, there were some serious chefs,” Straus said. “The following year we went and tasted everybody’s chili and realized how weak ours was.”

The chili tasting will last from 1-4 p.m., and winners will be announced at the end of the event.


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