United Cerebral Palsy of Northwest Missouri (UCP) will hold their annual Heart of America Chili Challenge virtually this month.
Teresa Gagliano, executive director, said the event used to pack the St. Joseph Civic Arena for 34 years with chili-cooking contestants and a crowd.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they will hold a virtual cooking competition.
She said the event is the only major fundraiser for the local United Cerebral Palsy center and all proceeds will stay in Northwest Missouri to benefit children and adults with developmental disabilities.
This year, chili contestants will cook at home or at local establishments.
Chili samples will be dropped off curbside at Knights of Columbus Hall located at 1205 N. 49th Terrace for judging.
The founder of the event, Steve Culver, has 30 judges lined up for the competition.
Judges will rate the chili samples on taste, palatability and appearance in a double blind test.
The chili will be placed in either the amateur or professional division and there is an extra fee to be considered for the all-beef category.
Teams and the crowd will connect through Zoom and Facebook Live throughout the day with a virtual awards ceremony to announce the winners.
In addition, the event will hold a raffle and online auction.
The raffle is sponsored by Nestle Purina and includes a raffle ticket for the Great Wolf Lodge and a Chiefs ticket bundle.
“We’ve had an online auction before but now everything is being done virtually,” Gagliano said. “The judging will be the only part that is in-person.”
She said there will be a peer-to-peer fundraiser opportunity. The public can donate to specific teams and any money they raise will be put in the category for People’s Choice division.
Gagliano can be contacted by phone at 816-364-3836.