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Cook-off draws crowd to raise money

A Dearing tradition continued Saturday night and those involved were glad.

The Dearing Chili/Soup/Stew Cook-Off was held at Dearing Elementary School with almost 100 people attending. In years past, the cook-off was held to benefit American Cancer Society's Relay For Life fundraiser. Because the fundraiser was held off this year in McDuffie County, Dearing officials decided to continue the cook-off and let the proceeds benefit Samaritan House.

"I'm glad we decided to keep it up," Dearing Councilman Allen Axon said Monday night at the town council meeting. "It seems everybody enjoyed just getting together and seeing each other."

The event raised approximately $1,100 for Samaritan House, according to Becky Craven, the treasurer of the Dearing Mayfest Committee. The committee organized the event.

"Ray Silverstein was instrumental in getting everything we needed donated, and Becky made the tea. We didn't pay for anything, so we made a good profit," Dearing Mayor Sean Kelley said.

Mayor Kelley said he wants to thank Thomson Janitorial Supply for donating all the paper goods and utensils and Dearing Elementary School for the use of their facility.

There were quite a few entries in each category of the cook-off. Barry Taylor won first place in the chili category with his "Not Yo' Mama's Chili." Myra Maness won first place in the soup category with her "Tex-Mex Corn Chowder," and Jake Street won first place in the stew category with his "Gumbo."

Judges were Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry, Dearing Town Councilman Judson Story, Dearing Fire Chief Danny Cason, McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce Director Carolyn Gilbert, McDuffie Mirror Publisher Todd Rainwater, WTHO News Director Donna Branch, Bobby Toulson, Eric Toulson and Lee Mimbs.

After the judging, everyone got to eat all they could hold for $5.

"It was very good," said 11-year-old Leah Prince. "I liked the cheesy potatoes the best, and my grandma's chili. The cheesy potatoes was like cheese soup and it had little potato chunks in it."

A cake auction was held after the dinner, with Gladys Rodgers as auctioneer. Mrs. Rodgers entertained the crowd as she sold the donated homemade cakes and pies for $20 and more. Dot Kay's caramel apple cake went for the most money -- $75. The cake auction brought in slightly more than $600 of the total amount raised for the evening.

"It was an enjoyable night and it was a good success," Dearing Councilman Mike McTier said. "It I can bake a pie that makes $30, then anybody can cook something that'll make money. I hope we do even better next year."

During the dinner, Dr. Sandy Turner spoke about Samaritan House, which provides free or reduced-cost medical care.

Web posted on Thursday, February 11, 2010

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