6th Annual Chili In The Park Cookoff

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By Morgan Macfarlane

For two years in a row, Seasoned Lazy Man won the Chili in the Park Cookoff, sponsored by Kalamazoo County State Bank (KCSB). The Chili in the Park  is an event that helps to build awareness of  nonprofit organizations and their contributions to the Schoolcraft community.

At the end of judging, the winner is the one who collects the most tickets. This year, Brad Gillespie owner of Seasoned Lazy Man won. This is his second year in a row winning. Overall the Chili in the Park event collected approximately 500 food items, and over $250 worth of food donations, according to KCSB.

Nonprofit organizations, local businesses, as well as community organizations came out for the Chili Cookoff in the Park. Included businesses were The Grinder Coffee House and Seasoned Lazy Man. Non-profits providing chili to the attendees were; The Gospel Mission, The Eagle’s Nest, South County Community Services, Vicksburg United Methodist Church, Vicksburg Lions Club, and Beginning Rental Hall, to name a few.

Schoolcraft Community members came out to sample chili and vote on which one they liked best. To get tickets to vote, community members brought canned goods  then voted by placing their tickets in the collection box of their favorite chili, which was located at each organization’s table. All canned goods collected at the end of the event were donated to local food pantries.

“There was so much variety, and all the chili was really good,” said Carrie Hamminga, a Schoolcraft resident.

No two chili’s were alike. Some, like the one made by South County Community Services  contained five different vegetables. Other chili’s, like the one made by Seasoned Lazy Man, contained special spices.

This is  the sixth year for the Chili in the Park event.  There has never been this big of a turn out, according to Angela Leversee who helped KCSB bank in organizing the event. New things this year also included having live music from a band called Search Engine.

“This event grows more support from the nonprofit organizations every year,” said Jim MacPhee, CEO of Kalamazoo County State Bank, “and we are very appreciative of their help in making this such a success.”

“This is all about nonprofit organizations being able to exist and help people,” said Rick Phillips, vice president of Kalamazoo County State Bank.

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