Norwin Rotary kicks off 9th annual Chili Cookoff & Wing Thing
“Chili or wings?” Cheyenne Moyer asked a group of people who walked into Cafe Supreme in downtown Irwin.
In front of her were two flavors of wings and a pot of chili, ready to serve the line of people that made their way down the hallway.
Cafe Supreme was just one stop on the sampling map as part of the ninth annual Norwin Rotary Chili Cookoff & Wing Thing, which raises money for the rotary’s Back Pack Project. The project gives needy Norwin students at Sheridan Terrance Elementary School back packs full of nutritious food to take home over the weekend during the school year.
“Some families just don’t have enough food over the weekend, so this helps supplement that,” said William Caruthers, the Norwin Rotary organizer for the annual event.
On Thursday, members of several Irwin churches and organizations gathered in the First United Methodist Church where judges were handed samples of their cooking. Across downtown Irwin, restaurants like Cafe Supreme, Colonial Grille Restaurant and Taproom and the Cheesecake Cafe opened their doors and let people sample their professional cooking.
Admission to the event was free, drawing crowds of people into the church, and eventually onto Main Street. Chili was sold for 50 cents per sample and wings were sold for $1 each.
All the money raised goes toward the Back Pack Project, which typically provides to about 30 Norwin elementary school kids.
Debbie Kunkle, president of the Norwin and Friends Alumni Association, has participated in the chili cookoff since her organization was founded four years ago.
“We’re trying for our fourth trophy in the chili category for the amateurs,” Kunkle said. “We have Kentucky Bourbon chili this year and we have a little bit less bourbon here, a little bit more here,” as she pointed to different pots of chili. “And the donations are very well spent,” Kunkle said.
Last year the event raised more than $10,500, Caruthers said. This year, he hopes to beat that goal by exceeding $11,000.
At the end of the night, three judges will pick a winner in the amateur category and in the professional category of cooks.
“It’s a great community effort for what we feel is a very good cause,” Caruthers said.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .