By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — Chili was the main course at an Oneonta fundraiser that featured music and a quilt display Sunday afternoon.
Community Arts Network of Oneonta opened its doors at Wilber Mansion to hundreds of guests who sampled chili between noon and 4 p.m. Quilts gave a comfortable home-like setting to first-floor rooms, which reverberated with the sounds of the Wilber Mansion Jam Band during the ninth annual Chili Bowl.
“I loved it,’’ Lynn Yakubec of Franklin said. She ventured on an unplanned stop at the mansion after seeing the event advertised on a banner hanging over Main Street downtown, then stayed all afternoon because of the music.
“The music held me here,’’ she said. “I just couldn’t leave.’’
Organizers said about 250 bowls, ranging in price from $10 to $50, were sold, and when the supply was gone, 150 cardboard bowls at $10 each were sold.
Bowl buyers were able to choose from among 19 types of chili submitted in the contest. Oneonta firefighters were the judging panel, organizers said, and the winning chili determined in a blind taste-test was made by Bob Eklund of Aramark at Hartwick College in Oneonta.
Three “People’s Choice’’ awards were given. No. 1 was a chili by B Side Ballroom and Supper Club at the Clinton Plaza in Oneonta.
The No. 2 was chili submitted by the Autumn Café in Oneonta. And Clayton Sunderland and Dan Scannell made the concoction named No. 3.
Scannell, an Oneonta resident originally from New Mexico, said he and Sunderland used top sirloin, pork, ground turkey, buffalo and bacon, seasoned with Hatch green chiles shipped overnight especially for the cooking project.
The chili took at least 30 hours to make, with meats cooked separately, he said, and the guiding principle was “let’s just try to make the best chili.’’
Hatch chiles include a family of long green peppers that range in spiciness and flavor, according to a Sept. 1 article in the Los Angeles Times, and “Hatch” refers to where the chiles are grown — the area around a town in southwestern New Mexico.
Scannell said he enjoyed watching Chili Bowl guests trying the different recipes.
Yakubec said she was on her way home from church when she saw the CANO banner and checked out the Chili Bowl at 11 Ford Ave.
“I’ve never had some many chilis in my life,’’ Yakubec said. “They were all excellent.’’
For the third year, the Susquehanna Valley Quilters participated in the event. About 30 quilts representing works by about 12 members were displayed Sunday, quilt organization President Flo Loomis said.
Some quilts featured themes, such as school houses or the ocean, and others highlighted different fabrics and colors in traditional or contemporary patterns.
Organizers at CANO, formerly called the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts, said they didn’t know how much Sunday’s event raised for restoration work at Wilber Mansion and for art education scholarships.
During the past eight years, the culinary contest has had 120 contenders and served chili in more than 2,500 hand-crafted bowls, they said before Sunday’s fundraiser.
Kim Condon-Brake, a co-chairwoman of this year’s event, described the gathering as a success.
“People were just so happy — it was really fun,’’ she said while sweeping a room during cleanup activities as the music beat went on. “Everyone was talking about next year, so that was a good thing.’’