Avalon Park Heats up With a Fire in the Park Chili Challenge
Things are expected to heat up in Avalon Park at the first annual Fire in the Park Chili Challenge taking place Feb. 22.
The new event promises to not only satisfy taste buds with award-winning chili, but to also offer attendees a chance to listen to live bands, compete in cornhole tournaments and participate in a variety of family activities.
“When I went to my first cook-off, I just fell in love with it,” Turoff said. “Years later, I started having my own chili cook-offs at home, and they just kept getting bigger. We couldn’t fit over 50 people at my house, and we didn’t want to say no to people so we decided that we wanted to do it bigger and better and do it for a cause.”
All of the proceeds raised at the event will go directly to the Oncology Care Fund, a donation driven effort created to extend cancer treatment options to needy patients and their families.
“I wanted to put on a good community event for a good cause, doing something that I am very familiar with, and something that really tied to my clients,” said Turoff, whose pharmaceutical business deals with oncology medications on a daily basis.
After purchasing a $5 entry wristband, attendees will be able to sample a variety of award-winning chili and act as judges in the cook-off’s Peoples’ Choice category. Tasters will be given a ballot and will decide which chili was their favorite.
“The Peoples’ Choice category can be anything anyone wants,” Turoff said. “It can be meat, beans, corn, you name it. Whatever you want, you can call it chili.”
A more competitive category – the Traditional Chili contest – will rely on the decisions of only 5 – 7 select judges. In this category, submissions must include only meat, sauce and lots of flavor.
There will be eight different competitions throughout the day, including a number of chili tasting contests, a fundraising competition and a hula hoop contest for kids. There will even be a beer and wine garden presented by the Avalon Park Foundation at the event.
Area restaurants will also be competing in Fire in the Park. Both 4 Rivers Smokehouse and Amigos Restaurant in the Waterford Lakes Town Center have confirmed that they will be putting their culinary prowess to the test. Turoff is currently in the process of getting other restaurants to take part in the cook-off.
“To me, it is not about bringing people from all over the state,” Turoff said. “It is about keeping this a community event. I want this to be a local event that brings the community together, and an event that is fun for all ages that is contributing to a great cause.”
By Courtney Dowling