There’s nothing more fun than sharing good food and watching people make hard decisions about money, both of which happened during the Rappahannock County Lion’s Club Grand Raffle and ChiliFest, held last Saturday (Nov. 2) at the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department.
It was a perfect day for a bowl of steaming chili, given the intervals of sun and clouds and the gusty wind that was, well, chilly. The tasting started at 4 p.m., when purchasers of the 150 raffle tickets (plus non-ticket holders who got in for $20) began trying chili entries from four area restaurants – High on the Hog, Public House, Griffin Tavern and County Cafe – and 14 individuals. The Griffin Tavern entry, dubbed “Great Brit Chili,” won the restaurant category, while Johnny Jenkins’s “Hoppin’ Johnny’s Chili” won the individual category. There were also soup and stew entries, with Liz Blubaugh’s “Authentic Mexican Calabaza Soup” winning the category.
Around 6, the action went indoors for the grand raffle. After 10 of the 150 ticket numbers were drawn, the holders of those numbers sat on chairs across the stage. Then master of ceremonies Jim Blubaugh asked the finalists whether they wanted to divide the prize money or spin the wheel and eliminate another number; it took just one “Spin!” vote to knock out a number and its corresponding finalist. Dave Hilty and Duggan Raiter made it to the final two before agreeing to split the money. Another winner at the event was Cheryl Taylor, who won a pair of tickets to the Inn at Little Washington.
This is the first time that the local Lion’s Club has coupled a ChiliFest with the grand raffle, which has been the organization’s major fundraiser each year. In the past, they have hosted a formal banquet, but club members began to look for something that would have fewer costs.
“This is a new event for us, and it will allow us to put a larger percentage of what we make back into the community,” explained event chairman Jim Manwaring. “Most of the food was donated, and we had great sponsors who made a real contribution.” He said preliminary figures indicate the Lions more than reached their goal for the event.
The Rappahannock County Lion’s Club would like to thank the following $500 sponsors: John Kiser of the Greve Foundation; Shaw’s Garage and Burgers ‘N Things; Rappahannock Hunt; Farm Credit of Virginia; Thornton Hill Hounds; the Inn at Little Washington; Critical Services; Better Homes and Gardens/Real Estate III; Union First Market Bank and the Rappahannock News.
The Lions also thank the following $250 sponsors: Settle’s Garage and Grocery; Rappahannock CFC Farm and Home Center; and Baumgardner, Brown and Cupp, PLC. Thanks also go to donors Cheri Woodard Realty ($150) and McKinney Services/Sperryville Emporium ($50).