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Laurel Highlands Harvest Festival, Chili Cook-Off this Sunday

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 7:42 p.m.

Christian W. Klay Winery and The Historic Stone House Restaurant will host the annual Laurel Highlands Harvest Festival and Chili Cook-Off from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

“We are excited to be partnering with the Historic Stone House Restaurant to enhance the festival and the cook-off. We look forward to partnering with the them in this community effort to raise funds for agricultural and culinary scholarships,” said Sharon Klay, winemaker and winery owner.

This year, the two businesses have invited nonprofit and civic organizations to compete in the cook-off.

The first-place winner will receive a $250 donation for their organization, plus hayride, wine-tasting, and a hot dog roast in the vineyard for up to 25 people. The organizations will be able to keep the proceeds from the chili-tastings at their booths.

The organization with the most tastings will win the People's Choice Award. Prizes also will be awarded to individuals who participate in the freestyle competition.

The nonprofits participating in chili recipes include Crosskeys Human Services, American Legion Post 51, Uniontown YMCA and The Community Foundation of Fayette County.

Buy Local will have a farmers market.

This year, in working with the Fayette Chamber of Commerce, donations are being accepted for the annual Fayette Chamber Cares food drive. Those who attend the Laurel Highlands Harvest and Chili Cook-Off are asked to bring perishable and nonperishable items.

“The Fayette Chamber will take perishable food donations to the Fayette County Food Bank the next day for distribution, and the nonperishable items will be added to the Fayette Chamber Cares collection for the local food bank, which distributes to the local food pantries in the county,” said Christine Schaney, director of sales, marketing and public relations for The Historic Stone House Restaurant.

“We want to stress that this is a great community event. It's our first time working with the Fayette Chamber. Their annual food drive kicks off next week, so we're happy to be a part of it. We are emphasizing the perishable-food donations for Sunday's Fall Harvest and Chili Cook-Off,” Schaney said.

The event also will showcase garden vegetables.

“This is our only opportunity to collect perishable donations in the form of garden abundance, such as tomatoes, corn, beans, cucumbers — anything that people have from their gardens,” said Muriel J. Nuttall, executive director of Fayette Chamber of Commerce.

Those who attend the Fall Harvest and Chili Cook-Off will enjoy old-fashioned fun, including grape-stomping and kids activities. There will be on-site cooking demonstrations by Chef Jeremy Critchfield of The Historic Stone House Restaurant. Wine-tasting will be offered, and regional crafters will have their wares for sale. Food vendors will offer dishes. The afternoon event will feature guitarist Fred Adams and legendary trombonist Harold Betters playing jazz music.

“Fred Adams will be the MC for the day including our Chinese auction. Harold will perform from 1 to 4 p.m. We are hoping for a beautiful day and want everyone to join us,” Shaney said.

A $5 donation at the gate will benefit the Raymond E. Malone Agricultural Scholarship and a culinary scholarship. For more information, visit www.cwklaywinery.com or www.stonehouseinn.com.

On Oct. 6, the 13th annual Ex-Paws-Istion will be held at Christian W. Klay Winery. There will be a blessing of the animals, followed by a rabies clinic. A pet parade and other fun competitions will have prizes. There will be vendor booths, live music, food from the Stone House Smoke House and offerings. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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