CLARKS SUMMIT — The night was cold but it was warm inside the Clarks Summit Fire Hall on March 3 during the second annual Newton-Ransom Elementary PTO Chili Cook-Off.
John Kochner’s chili earned the Newton Twp. resident two plaques — one for being voted the best and another for being voted the hottest. Kochner was one of the contestants in the fundraiser chaired by Deserae Gondella Malone, Debbie Musgrave, and PTO member/event coordinator Marissa Zang.
Proceeds for the cook-off are going to field trips, school supplies, school assemblies, and playground equipment for Newton-Ransom Elementary School.
“We have a better turnout this year,” Zang said.
“We added more contestants this year,” Gondella added, remembering that last year there were seven entries while this year, there were nine.
The nine contestants cooked homemade chili and took it to the fire hall for people to taste and vote for in three categories: best, hottest and most unique. Ransom Twp. resident Chris DeCicco, whose daughter Kelsie is a student at Newton-Ransom Elementary, made old-fashioned chili with beef and beans. Wearing a Trovato’s Meat Market shirt, he represented the business where he purchased the beef to make his chili. He likes this kind of fundraiser for his daughter’s school.
“I think it’s a good thing they (PTO) do,” DeCicco said.
Jennifer Sutton, also from Ransom Twp., also made chili with beef and beans. Her daughter Amelia attends the elementary school
Other contestants tried different kinds of chili. Stacie Kane, who has friends in the school’s PTO, brought her chicken corn chili, voted best chili during last year’s cook-off. Andrea Rogers, a building aide at the school, competed against her husband Pat’s smokehouse chili with her white-bean chicken chili. Andrea’s chili was voted “most unique.”
“I was very excited,” she said. “It’s a family favorite of ours.”
Raffle baskets also raised funds for Newton-Ransom Elementary. Newton Twp. resident Sam Caprari provided musical entertainment by DJ-ing the event.
“It’s a great community,” Caprari said about living in Newton Twp. “I’m lucky to live in this area.”
The evening concluded with dance music and bright strobe lights, which Caprari provided.
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