What is The Great Rotary Fremont Annual Chili Cook Off?
The Great Rotary Fremont Chili Cook Off is an annual fundraising event that benefits seven local charities in the Tri-City area. The event is organized by the Area 3 Rotary Clubs of District 5170 Rotary International with the help of Our Local Firefighters. It currently takes place in the parking lot of The Saddle Rack, 42011 Boscell Road, Fremont. Admission is $10 for adults (includes 6 chili tasting ticket and one voting ticket) free for children 6 and under. Tickets can be purchased in advance (at a discount) for $8.00 each on-line at www.FremontChiliCookOff.org.
How did the Chili Cookoff get started?
Members of the Rotary Club of Fremont Sunrise were making plans to initiate a Tri-City Rotary Club fundraiser as early as December of 1991. A chili cook-off was selected as the fundraiser because chili cook-offs were popular, and because of the ease in preparing and judging the food. It was thought that a Chili Cook-Off would be an ideal way to accomplish joint funding with the other five Rotary clubs for the free medical clinic that opened on January 18, 1992 and to have fun and good fellowship while doing so.
The event was set for Sunday, March, 15, 1992, at the Niles Country Dance & Banquet Hall in Fremont. The location of the chili cook-off has moved several times to the following areas: South 40 Club, Parking lot at Washington Hospital West, and the Saddle Rack. The International Chili Society joined The Great Rotary Chili Cook-Off in 1998.
Are there Contests or other Entertainment?
The Chili Cook Off features chili tasting, live music by Jewels Hanson & Diablo Road, Full Throttle and a live performance by Star Struck Theater. There are Life Saving Demonstrations, Jaws-of-life Extractions and Fire Safety Presentations by our Platinum Sponsor Local 1689 (Your Local Firefighters) Activities for the kids, a “Tug-o-War” contest between Fire Houses, arts & crafts and food booths and lots of raffle prizes.
The Cook Off will include 30 booths serving People’s Choice Chili concocted by Rotary Clubs, community and church groups, businesses, firehouses and individuals.
Cook Off attendees will receive a booklet containing one Voting Ticket along with six tasting tickets and many coupons and acknowledgments for our wonderful sponsors. They will cast their votes by presenting their Voting Ticket to their favorite booth. The booth ending the day with the most tickets wins bragging rights for the next year.
In addition to the People’s Choice competition, there will be other competitions like best Firehouse chili, best Rotary Chili, best decorated booth.
Who are the Beneficiaries?
The event was originally created as a benefit for the Rotary Tri-City Clinic. The clinics (for uninsured residents) were held regularly and staffed by volunteer physicians but needed funds for prescription medications and laboratory work. The annual Cook Off continues to raise money to meet that need. In recent years, we’ve expanded our beneficiaries to include Washington on Wheels, a mobile clinic that provides screening, immunizations and health education to underserved areas, and the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, the designated charity of firefighters. We’ve also added the Hope Project Mobile Clinic, Life Elder Care, and we support local clubs who volunteer to work the event like Rotoract, and high school sports teams. It’s all about giving back to the community, we try to give as much as we can back to local beneficiaries so they can help those in need in our own community.
This year’s fundraising goal is $35,000, which will benefit the above named charities and two Firefighters charities to be named later by the winners of their competitions. In 2010 those charities were: The Martin Kauffman 100 Club, chosen by the winner of the Tug-O-War competition; and Kidango, chosen by the winner of the Best Fire House Chili competition.
Who Organizes this Event?
The Chili Cookoff is organized by our steering committee, dedicated volunteers from the Rotary Clubs that make up Area 3. Our chairperson is Daren R. Young, owner of Dryco Construction and past president of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary club. The steering committee meets regularly starting in February to begin recruiting sponsors and donors, signing up chili makers and booth vendors, and arranging for entertainment. Our Steering Committee page has photos and bios of our tireless volunteers.
Area 3 is comprised of six (6) Rotary Clubs in the Tri-City area: Niles (Fremont) Rotary, Fremont Rotary, Mission San Jose Rotary, Fremont Warm Springs Sunrise Rotary, Newark Rotary and FUN (Fremont, Union City, and Newark) Sunset Rotary. These Area 3 clubs are in Rotary District 5170, which encompasses Rotary Clubs from Hollister to Emeryville, and Palo Alto to Livermore.
Are you in need of Sponsors?
Yes we are! The cost of putting on the event is primarily paid through ticket sales, and the generous support of volunteers and donors, who provide much of the supplies needed to run the event. As a result, typically all of the money contributed by our sponsors goes directly to our charitiy organizations. Simply put, our sponsor's cash donations make or break our fundraising efforts.
Major sponsors of last year’s Great Rotary 21st Annual Chili Cook Off include - Local 1689 (Your Local Firefighters),Washington Hospital Healthcare System, Fremont Bank, Coach Automotive Restyling, The Saddle Rack, Magnum Drywall, James R Griffin Const. Inc, Niles (Fremont) Rotary, DRYCO Const., Inc., Bruce's Tires, Cargill Salt, Inkies Tattoos, Premier Kia of Fremont, and the NFL Alumni.
Media contact only:
Daren Young, President
DRYCO Construction, Inc.
Gary Robinson, President
Magnum Drywall, Inc.
The Saddle Rack