Annual MR/DD Chili Fest slated for this weekend

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 27, 2003

Taste buds will be sizzling Saturday as the Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities sponsors the Fourth Annual Chili Fest.

The event, a part of MR/DD Awareness Month, will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Saturday at Tri-State Industries, Inc., 606 Carlton Davidson Lane. For just $1 per person, twenty six different recipes will be available for taste testing.

Activities will also include 17 craft booths, musical entertainment, children's activities, door prizes and more.

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"Chili Fest is an awareness activity, not a fund-raiser," said Sarah Diamond Burroway, grants and special projects coordinator for the MR/DD Board and chair of the Awareness Committee.

"I think it really helps provide a first-hand look at who our consumers are. If you do not know someone, or have a family member with MR/DD, you may not understand they are just the same as you or I."

Open Door School student Aaron Arbaugh designed the 2003 Chili Fest logo for the event that has grown each year.

The first year about 100 people attended. Last year, more than 850 enjoyed the culinary efforts, Burroway said.

Several businesses and organizations from across the Tri-State are participating this year.

"I am pleased to see it spreading in the Tri-State," she said. "It shows our message is getting out there and people are becoming more aware of our services and programs."

Chili Fest 2003 judges are County Commissioners Doug Malone and Jason Stephens and Lawrence County Probate Judge David Payne.

"These three judges volunteer their time, their stomachs and their pallets," Burroway said. "They are some brave men."

Commissioner Stephens has been a judge for the past two years and is looking forward to it again this year.

"I can't wait. I have got my Maalox ready," he said. "The Chili Fest has really grown. That is great but it is really tough on the judges."

The chili entries are divided into three categories - consumers, family and staff; businesses and organizations; and the media. There will also be a people's choice award given for the public's favorite recipe.

Entrants in the consumer, family and staff category are Amy Chaffin, TSI workshop specialist; Patricia Schwartz, TSI habilitation specialist I, Pam Triplett, TSI; Andi Burton, TSI; Kay Rader, TSI habilitation specialist II; the Service and Support Administration Unit and the MR/DD Board Office.

Businesses and organizations entering are the Knights of Columbus, Ironton, Watterson Council 1405; Ironton Kiwanis; the Social Security Administration of Ironton, Rocco's at the Plaza, Oak Ridge Treatment Center, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Family Guidance Center, Appalachian Family and Children First Council, Ironton-Lawrence County CAO Head Start, the Lawrence County Help Me Grow Program, the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO Early Head Start, Shawnee Mental Health - Lawrence County Children's Support Program, Andrew's Buddies of the Tri-State, Hoss Cat Clothing, River Valley Child Development Services, Quality Care Nursing and Serendipity Catering.

The media entrants are The Ironton Tribune and Clear Channel Radio.