The Dearing Relay for Life team is hoping to add some spice to the winter blues with their premier Stew/Soup and Chili Cook-Off. Team Captain Beverly McCorkle-Welch said everyone is invited to enter the contest or come enjoy the festivities.
Mrs. McCorkle-Welch said there is no entry fee for the contest, entries must be four quarts minimum, and she requests that no name be placed in a visible spot on the pot so that judging can be fair.
Each category will be judged separately by a panel of three judges. Dearing Mayor Sean Kelley said he does not want to disclose the names of the judges.
"We've got three different sets of judges for each category. I ain't telling who they are. If you know who the judges are, then you have a way to influence them," the Mayor said with a laugh.
A first, second and third-place ribbon will be awarded to the winner of each category-soup, stew and chili. Mrs. McCorkle-Welch said the purpose of the event is to raise money for the American Cancer Society, so the prizes are a frugal choice.
All entries will be sold after the judging is complete. Prices are $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 10 and younger. The price includes one bowl of the soup, stew or chili of the buyer's choice, bread, dessert and a drink.
A cake auction will also take place during the event. Mrs. McCorkle-Welch said those who wish to donate a cake may bring one that day.
"Everybody is welcome to participate, enter a soup, stew or chili, and come out and have a good time," she said. "It would be nice if it's cold that day. It doesn't encourage you to eat chili when it's 70 degrees."
The Dearing Cook-off is taking place only a couple of weeks after Mayor Kelley won first place in the Mayor Chili Challenge Cook-off in Harlem. As a result, Mayor Kelley said he won't be entering chili in his own town's contest. He said he prepared chili four times to perfect his recipe before the last contest.
"Nobody in the house wants to eat chili anymore. We don't even want to smell chili, so we're done with it for a while," he said. "I haven't figured out what I'm going to do, but I'm going to do something else."
As the champion title-bearer of the hamburger cook-off in Dearing last May and the chili cook-off in Harlem, Mayor Kelley said he is "king of the world," and is excited for the next competition to take place. He "encourages anybody that wants to participate" to come join the event.
The cook-off will be on Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Dearing Elementary School Cafeteria. Entries will be accepted from 4-4:30 p.m. and serving will begin at 5 p.m. and will continue until sold out, or 7 p.m.