OSKALOOSA — Who doesn’t enjoy a nice, warm bowl of chili on a cold winter day? On Friday night, area residents will have the opportunity to taste a variety of tasty chili.
On Jan. 27, William Penn University will host the first ever Party and Chili at the PAC. There will be free chili dogs, drinks, kids’ activities, popcorn and movies at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. There will also be a free will donation, which will benefit the New Hope Community Center, which wants to open a soup kitchen.
Ann Smith, of the Mahaska Wellness Coalition, says that the group is always looking for ways to bring the city of Oskaloosa together.
“The Mahaska Wellness Coalition is always looking for ways to engage the community. During one of the meetings it came up about showing a family friendly movie for the people of Oskaloosa, and the students at William Penn,” she said. “After talking about different ways to engage, we came up with the chili cook off and then movie night.”
A call also goes out to anyone who has a great chili recipe. A competition will be held to see who can create the best chili. Those who wish to enter the competition will have the chance to claim the “Golden Ladle” prize. Competitors will go spoon-to-spoon with representatives of the Oskaloosa Police Department, Mahaska Bottling Company and various city entities.
Oskaloosa Police Chief Jake McGee is also an active member of the Wellness Coalition, and Smith says he stepped up to bring the departments of the city together for a good cause.
“When the idea came up about hosting a chili cook off, Chief volunteered to help lead the city in the efforts to be a part of the engagement,” she said. “Chief McGee has talked to the different departments in the city to bring chili and enter into the contest! He also volunteered his officers time to come help with the volunteering and organization of the event.”
Smith says there is also a panel of celebrity judges who will have the first taste of each batch of chili in the competition.
“We will have a panel of celebrity judges, Jay from MHP, Clete from Hy Vee, Cory from Mahaska, the Mayor, Dave Kruztfeldt and Karen from the Oskaloosa Chamber,” she said.
“These judges will be the first to sample the chili. Their expert taste buds will decide on who wins the prestigious Golden Ladle. There will also be a People’s choice award. Everyone entering the PAC will be given a ticket, they will drop that ticket in a cup at the table they like the most. That person will win the Golden Spoon award.”
When the awards have been handed out, a family-friendly movie will be shown on the jumbo screen at 6:30 p.m., followed by a movie for older teens and adults at 8 p.m. You are encouraged to bring blankets and pillows to cozy up on the floor while watching the movies.
Story provided by Chris Rhea of the Oskaloosa Herald