Chili, wings cookoff fundraiser set for Irwin |

Chili, wings cookoff fundraiser set for Irwin

Joe Napsha
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Christine Biros (left) of Plum, Courtney Smith, of North Huntingdon, Chandler McGraw, of White Oak, and Casi Smith, of North Huntingdon, sample chili made by the Greensburg Country Club, during the Norwin Rotary’s Sixth annual Chili and Wing Cookoff Crawl, held at various locations in downtown Irwin on Thursday evening, March 3, 2016.

A few good chefs are needed to make chili, wings and baked goods to be sold at the ninth annual Chili Cookoff & Wing Thing in Irwin on March 7.

The event is held to raise money to provide backpacks full of nutritious food for a group of Norwin elementary school students.

The chili and wings will be available in downtown Irwin at The Colonial Grille, Cafe Supreme, Cheesecake Caffe and the Irwin Masonic Hall, all along Main Street and the First United Methodist Church on Oak Street.

The free admission cookoff, which is sponsored by the Norwin Rotary and the Irwin Business and Professional Association, will run from 5 to 8 p.m. The chili will be sold at 50 cents per sample and the wings will be sold for $1 each.

Due to space limitations, teams cooking chili and wings will be limited to the first 25 that register and pay the entrance fee, plus the teams using their own restaurant in Irwin.

The money raised will go toward supporting the Norwin Rotary Backpack Project. The project typically provides about 30 Norwin elementary school children at Sheridan Terrance Elementary School with backpacks full of nutritional, child-friendly food that will sustain them for a weekend.

“The school selects the students. We are not involved in that process, and we do not know the identity of the students receiving the backpacks.,” said William Caruthers, a Rotary Club member who helps organize the chili cookoff.

The chili and wing cookoff is the primary fundraiser for the project, the Rotary said. All of the money from the sale of the chili and half of the money from the wings will go toward the backpack project. The remaining half of the money from the wings sale will offset the cost of conducting the event, the Rotary said.

The amateur cooks will sell their food at the First United Methodist Church and the Irwin Masonic Hall. Professional chefs from Irwin and from neighboring restaurants will serve their food from their location or the church or Masonic Hall. Wine and beer may be sold at some locations, but not at the Methodist Church.

Those who are cooking chili should plan on making at least six gallons. Those making wings should bring at least 150, the Rotary said. The deadline for registering is Feb. 25.

A panel of independent judges will taste test the chili and wings and judge them based on texture, flavor, aroma and unique character.

Prizes will be given for first, second and third place in both the professional and amateur chef categories. A People’s Choice award will be given in both categories. There also will be a prize for the best presentation by an amateur.

For information on the cookoff, visit: or contact Bill Caruthers at 724-382-5722 or Cheryl Campbell at 724-858-7609.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252 or [email protected]