City Holds Chili Challenge as United Way Fundraiser

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Holds Chili Challenge as United Way Fundraiser

Posted: 09/25/2009
The Pirates of the Chili-Bean, also known as the city's Law Department, made off with the coveted "Grand Prize Chili Cauldron" Friday at the Second Annual City Chili Challenge Friday to raise money for United Way.

Mayor Bill Haslam and University of Tennessee Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl, serving as this year's distinguished judges, picked the department's "Walk the Plank Chili" after sampling 17 savory offerings prepared by various city departments ranging from 311's "Master Jay's Kung Fu Chili" to Engineering's "Gene Autry's Chili with Champion Toppings." 
 
The fundraising event for the United Way - created and hosted by the Purchasing Department - transformed the Small Assembly Room into a spicy battlefield for the hearts and palates of city employees.

It features competition for the best chili and best table decor and had both a judge's and people's choice categories. Employees paid $5 to sample as many chili offerings as they wished from the elaborately decorated tables and then voted for their favorites.

It's a fun event with a serious cause and it raised $1,307 for United Way. 
 
"It's just a good way to kick off the United Way campaign," said Purchasing Director Boyce Evans. "I think it went really well, we raised more than we did last year and everyone had a good time." 
 
The prestigious People's Choice Awards went to Civil Service, which won the fabulous "Golden Ladle" award for the best chili for its "Castaway Chili" and finished second in the Best Decorated Booth category.

Civil Service Director Vicki Hatfield, who played Gilligan as she and her staff spoofed "Gilligan's Island" at a hut constructed in the corner of the room, said the castaways heard a lot of smack talk from D.J. Corcoran with the Fire Department and Bob Polk with Public Assembly in neighboring booths. 
 
"We were ready," Hatfield said adding that the Golden Ladle "is going to be in the front of the Civil Service Office, along with our multiple ribbons, so that D.J. and Bob can come by and visit it." 
 
Community Development's ghoulish staff danced their way to victory in the Best Decorated Booth category. Their "Thriller" of a performance brought down the house and brought the department the "Red Colander" trophy. 
 
"We got class, we got the moves and we got the chili," Madeline Rogero, a member of the masterfully ghastly dance troupe, joked after the competition. Some of the ashen dancers were so well made up that spectators had trouble figuring out who they were.

Evans closed the challenge Friday by thanking Janice McClelland with Purchasing for putting the event together and indicated that the city might just do it again next year.