By Fitale Wari
Did you see your favorite type of chili this past weekend? Was it B.A.D.D. CHILI? Chili Chili Bang Bang? What about Gobbledy Goodness? Or Village Taco? Maybe it was the Sweet Five Alarm Chili.
These are only some of the chili recipes Granvillians tasted this past weekend at the 13th annual Chili Cook-Off presented by the Rotary Club of Granville in partnership with the Granville Inn. The Granville Community Foundation was proud to sponsor this enticing and lively Granville tradition.
Participants woke up as early as 7 a.m. to cook their famous chili recipes on the lawn of the Granville Inn as music filled the crisp, autumn morning. This year, Granville families, organizations, and Denison University students attended the chili fest, and even offered to be chefs for the day.
Going table to table, attendees tasted unique family recipes containing secret key ingredients that had been passed down through multiple generations.
That had me thinking: what’s Granville’s secret ingredient?
Well, the most common thing overheard at the festival was "community." Granville’s shared belief that community is the driving factor in connecting people is demonstrated by events like this.
“I feel so new,” said Liz Anastasiadis, Denison University ’21. “But [Granville] feels like home.”
The Chili Cook-Off proves how Granville is “creating a place for people to live in support of each other,” said Tom Stone, treasurer of fundraising at Friends of the Granville Public Library. For him, Granville’s secret ingredient is the support inherent to a close-knit community.
“I don’t know what [Granville’s] secret ingredient is. The community? Its ambiance?” contemplated Amy Huddleston, owner of Home Instead Senior Care and member of the Rotary Club of Granville. “It’s just the quintessential little town.”
Even Denison student, Grace Rooney ’19, feels there’s a “special spice in the community.”
That could be Karen Fullin, member of St. Luke’s Church and the woman who is “spicing town up a little,” one pot of chili at a time.
Since the Chili Cook-Off is a family-friendly event, there were activities for children of all ages to participate in provided by the folks at the Granville Recreation District—pumpkin cookie decorating, donuts on a string, face painting, and spin art.
In fact, the chili fest is such a fun event, families came from all over.
Returning for a second year in a row, Phil Stephens, from Johnstown, Ohio, explained his love for Granville and how easy it is to get around town.
“We just love how centrally located Granville is,” Phil said.
Even Ellen and Ashley Connell said their transition to moving to Granville from England one year ago has been easy because of its charm. In fact, they’ve fallen in love with Granville because of events like this.
“It’s a friendly town that values community and respect,” Ashley shared.
“And it’s historically old,” Ellen said jokingly. “We’re English, so we like history.”
With over 500 participants in previous years, the Cook-Off has fundraised over $53,000 for community programs since 2004.
This fundraiser brings awareness to local Rotary programs, including five college scholarships, High School Ethics and Leadership Conference, Middle and High School Students of the Month, inbound and outbound exchange students, and Biz Town for GIS 5th graders.
It also supports the Food Pantry Network of Licking County, local Adult and Children’s Literacy, Granville Recreational District Concerts on the Green, Community Shred-It Days/Book Drives, and Red Cross Community Blood Drives.
From attendees who simply love chili to chefs who just wanted to be part of the community and have fun, this past Chili Cook-Off was overall a success.
Thank you to all the participating chili cooks:
Bon Appetit—Denison University
Bryn’s Trustee Ol’Chili/Bryn Bird
Chef Cowboy.A Rdee
Chili Chili Bang Bang/Hugh & Nancy Price
Friends of the Granville Public Library
Flying Spoons/Patrick Gangwer
Granville Community Foundation
Granville Township Fire Department
Granville Police Department
Granville Turkey Trot
The Granville Inn
Home Instead Senior Care
Red Hot Chili Toppers/Uberburger
Rotary Club of Granville
Team Wildwood Playground