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January 11, 2013

Chili Bowl a tasty fundraiser

By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star

---- — Some like it hot, some not.

Chili in a variety of concoctions will be the focus of a fundraising culinary contest next month for the Community Arts Network of Oneonta.

Organizers are seeking backers for the ninth annual Chili Bowl and arranging to have 200 individually made ceramic bowls for guests to purchase and use to hold samples of chili prepared by local restaurant chefs.

“It’s going to be fun,’’ event co-chairwoman Kellie Place said Thursday.

The 2013 Chili Bowl will be at CANO’s Wilber Mansion at 11 Ford Ave. from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 3, the same day as football’s Super Bowl 47.

Chili Bowl organizers are drawing on the resources and creativity found at the recently refurbished and re-opened Carriage House behind the Wilber Mansion.

On Thursday, some Chili Bowl enthusiasts interested in promoting the festival as a community event met in the Carriage House, where some unfinished bowls were displayed on a table in the ceramics studio.

Doug Hallberg, a founder of the Carriage House Art Studio, said he hopes to have 200 bowls ready to sell as serving bowls. CHAS opened last year to revive arts education and create opportunities for artists to teach.

Place said that CANO board President Raina D’Amico has purchased 40 bowls by local artist and teacher Elizabeth Nields to donate to the fundraiser.

Crews from the Oneonta Fire Department will judge the chili concoctions, Place said. Guests will be able to visit the recently refurbished Carriage House Art Studio, where they may pick up a bowl, she said, and then walk across the driveway to the Wilber Mansion, where the chili testing will be held.

Cindy Seward of Milford, who previously studied ceramics, contacted Hallberg last month about helping with the bowl project, and she has worked on two pieces. Seward said she has been inspired by the MacKenzie-Childs decorative style, which includes stripes, squares and dots, in a variety of colors.

“It’s something a little different,’’ she said. On Thursday, she began painting black and white squares on a small ceramic crock, which, she said, she may purchase.

Rachel Lutz Jessup, vice chairwoman of Main Street Oneonta, said she is “very excited’’ about the Carriage House and the arts education opportunities it offers. Her son, Andrew Lutz, 10, already has made a mug in a ceramics class there, she said, and she hopes to make a bowl for the chili fundraiser.

Place is joined in organizing the Chili Bowl by CANO board member Kim Condon-Brake and Dennis Walrath, an intern from the State University College at Oneonta. The goal is to raise $10,000 to help with restoration work at Wilber Mansion and arts education and scholarship funding, they said. Contributing sponsors are being sought starting at the $10 “sweet’’ level, organizers said, and rising through “mild, medium and hot’’ donation levels.

“We really count on the community coming together to support the event,’’ Condon-Brake said.

During the past eight year, the culinary contest has had 120 contenders and served chili in more than 2,500 hand-crafted bowls.

There need be no contest between the Chili Bowl and the Super Bowl 47 as game kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 3.