CLEARFIELD – This was no spaghetti western.
Cowboy hats and PVC pipe cacti filled the Expo II building kicking off the twelfth annual Chili Bowl.
“Everyone is having a good time with [the western theme],” said Dana Wilson, event coordinator.
The chili bowl serves as a fund raiser for Hospice. The event was open to all to allow for chili sampling. There were 60 entries this year up from the 53 last year.
The goal was only 50 due to space restraints, but despite many still being turned away the count still grew.
“We really need a bigger place, but I don’t know where to go,” said Wilson early on in the evening.
Over the last decade the Chili Bowl had started at the Clearfield Mall. As the Chili Bowl grew it moved to the Expo I and eventually to the current location at the Expo II building. When asked about the repeated breakers going off leading to black outs, Wilson assured that it wasn’t from all the crock pots.
The Expo II building had been having some electrical problems before the event and power had been turned off for a while by Penelec to do some work on a utility pole. During the 20-plus minutes of darkness, true to the “Western Legends” theme some chili servers broke out lamps and other makeshift light sources.
“I’m loving it. I’m stunned at all the people here,” said Mike Bookhammer, hospital employee and station volunteer.
“We were just talking about how much fun this is,” said Lynnette Timko after she and Kathy Potter were asked what they felt about the bowl. Both worked at the Central Intermediate Unit #10 stand.
An hour into the Chili Bowl began the butterfly release. There were 200 butterflies released this year in memory of individuals who died within the last year.
Proceeds benefit the Clearfield Hospice program by covering expenses that are not covered by insurance. Monies are used to help alleviate burdens from hospice patients and families in need who are facing end-of-life issues.
The fundraiser also supports the bereavement program and the grief camp for children and teens. This is a free service offered to anyone in the community who has suffered a loss.
Clearfield Hospice provides personal care and support for terminally ill persons and their families. It serves residents of Clearfield, Centre and Jefferson counties, as well as parts of the bordering counties of Elk, Indiana, Cambria, Clinton and Blair.
The crowd inside the Expo II building for the Chili Bowl while another crowd was outside at the same time for the butterfly release. (Steven McDole)