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Rivals Chili Cook-Off is scheduled with fire departments, breweries

August 1, 2018

Rivals Chili Cook-Off is scheduled with fire departments, breweries

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Rivals Sports Grille’s 10th annual Chili Cook-Off is set for Saturday, Sept. 15.

The benefit brings together area firefighters to raise money for Make-A-Wish. Last year, $12,376 was raised, said Rivals manager Johanna Savage.

This year, breweries also will compete in a separate chili-making category. So far, Great Lakes Brewing Co., Lord Hobo Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing Co., Platform Beer Co., Fat Head’s Brewery and Sibling Revelry Brewery are slated to compete, along with Cleveland Whiskey.

“It’s super exciting,” Savage said. “We’re really excited to add the brewery part. It’s kind of ‘How did we not think of that sooner?’ ” Savage said applications are being taken through early September, so others have a chance to sign up.

To date, three dozen breweries and fire stations have committed to see who can earn bragging rights for best chili.

The event will be 2-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at Rivals, 6710 Smith Road, Middleburg Heights. Rivals is between Interstate 71 to the west and Pearl Road to the east.

Teams compete for celebrity judges honors and people’s-choice awards. The judges panel is composed of hospitality professionals, food writers, volunteers and Make-A-Wish beneficiary families.

Chili is judged on flavor, appearance and creativity. Teams are encouraged to wear costumes, use creative garnishes like Fritos Flamin’ Hot Flavored Corn Chips, and create over-the-top signs begging for votes.

Patrons who pony up a $15 entry fee receive voting tickets. (Cost is $5 for ages 6-14.)

All of the money raised goes to Make-A-Wish. The fire departments supply the chili while Rivals donates supplies, staffing and equipment – along with 15 percent of the day’s revenue.

The fundraiser has been around almost as long as Rivals, which opened in 2007.

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