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Chili Fest for MR/DD Awareness attracts unique recipes

They came, they ate, and they went away very, very full.

Sunday, March 24, 2002

They came, they ate, and they went away very, very full.

The third-annual Chili Fest for MR/DD Awareness at the Open Door School brought out 24 hopeful chefs who hungered for recognition and a long line of connoisseurs who hungered for something hot on a chilly day.

The recipes ranged from traditional (ground beef and tomatoes) to unique (substituting venison for the beef) to avant garde (never mind the beef, how about chocolate and beer in that chili?) and all points in between.

Mike Johnson was one of the people who sampled the spicy fare.

"It’s all good," he said. "I didn’t have a bad bowl."

Asked which one he thought was the best, Johnson shook his head.

"It’s hard to pick," he said.

The Chili Fest was one of several activities promoting MR/DD Awareness Month, aimed at raising public awareness of people within the community who are either mentally retarded or have developmental disabilities.

Sarah Diamond Burroway, grants and special projects coordinator for the Lawrence County Board of MR/DD said this year, the MR/DD consumers were also active participants. One consumer entered the chili contest and another provided entertainment.

In addition to the cooking, there were also crafters, activities for the children and a day long slate of entertainment, all of whom volunteered their time.

The winner in the business/organization category was the Appalachian Family and Children First Council. In the media category, the Ironton Tribune collected the first place prize, and in the consumers/families/staff category, Tri-State Industries won first place. The People’s Choice Award was given to the Chesapeake Volunteer Fire Department.