To all who made ChiliFest the best . . .

The headlines of the 2016 Lions Club ChiliFest: Six in a row for Griffin Tavern; veggie is groovy; and a quartet of folks left the stage happy.

Chili winners Debbie Donehey (left) of Griffin Tavern (professional category) and Natasha Bush (home chef category) pose with winners' plaques and Lion Secretary Jim Manwaring.
Chili winners Debbie Donehey (left) of Griffin Tavern (professional category) and Natasha Bush (home chef category) pose with winners’ plaques and Lion Secretary Jim Manwaring. By Larry "Bud" Meyer

The Lions’ biggest annual fundraiser is behind us, and we have a lot of folks to thank. Despite the iffy weather we tucked inside the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Hall for music, visiting, eating and the suspenseful drawdown.

Lions members, friends and family made 13 chili concoctions, presented with disguised names, and served up by volunteer members of the high school Leo Club and Ian Leach. By popular vote, Griffin Tavern became a six-time winner among professional local restaurants and inns, and Natasha Bush’s vegetarian recipe topped the civilian category.

Four ticket holders split the $5,000 grand Drawdown prize four ways with longtime Lion and former county supervisor Bob Anderson drawing cheers for frequently insisting the Lions spin the drawdown basket several times. Natasha Bush and Paul Bush, a Lion’s member, won the drawing for dinner for two at The Inn at Little Washington.

This event could never happen without the hard work of ChiliFest chair Yogi Bear, Karen Bear, co-chair Jim Manwaring, Jim Blubaugh, Kathy Grove, Kaye Kohler, Kit Johnson, Frank Raiter, Ross O’Donoghue and the rest of the club. We also want to thank Carolyn Manwaring and the decoration crew for the setup.

We thank our sponsors, who provide the Lions’ share of dollars in this fundraiser. They are (Lions Roar): BH&G Real Estate III, Critical Stages Graphic Design, T.G. Taylor Construction, Greve Foundation, Inn at Little Washington, Rappahannock Hunt, Rappahannock News, Thornton HIll Fort Valley Hounds, Farm Credit of the Virginias and Union First Market Bank; and (Lions Gold) Cheri Woodard Realty, Shaw’s Services & Burgers ‘n Things, Harris Hollow Foods, CFC Farm & Home Center and Tula’s Restaurant.

We thank our local restaurants for their contributions: The Flint Hill Public House, The Country Cafe, Griffin Tavern, Tula’s and Thornton River Catering. Thanks, too, to Narrow Path Bluegrass (Brian Taylor and Grant Heflin) for the music..

As always, it’s the Rappahannock community that turns out as the long-term beneficiaries of the annual event. The fundraiser helps cover the Lions Club’s commitment to scholarships, vision and hearing tests, service projects and nonprofit needs throughout the year. Always a fun event, the ChiliFest/Drawdown is a great way for prospective club members to get to know the Lions community, their spouses and families, and find out more about our service activities year-round.

Larry Grove
President, Rappahannock Lions Club

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