The Coral Gables Knights of Columbus hosted its inaugural Chili Cook-Off on Jan. 9 to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Organized by the CGK of C, Council #3274, the event took place at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 270 Catalonia Ave. in Coral Gables.
A wide variety of groups participated in the cookoff, each vying to show that they make the best chili in the community. The nine competing groups were: Coral Gables Fraternal Order of Police, Coral Gables Fire Department, Allen’s Family Drug Store, Carmelite Sisters of St. Theresa Catholic School, Boy Scouts of America Troop 16, COTLF Men’s Emmaus Group, Down Syndrome’s Association of Miami, Balsera Ballers from Balsera Communication Group, and BADS BNI Coral Gables.
Two community leaders, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Mark A. Trowbridge and Robert Parente from ediblesouthflorida.com served as official judges.
Boy Scouts Troop 16 took first place in both the Judge’s vote and the People’s Choice vote. Second place in the Judge’s vote went to Allen’s Family Drug Store, and second place in the People’s Choice vote resulted in a tie between the Carmelite Sisters of St. Theresa Catholic School and the Down Syndrome Parent’s Association of Miami. Third Place in both the Judge’s vote and the People’s Choice vote went to the Coral Gables Fraternal Order of Police.
Starting at 2 p.m. and going until almost 9 p.m. in the garden area behind the building as well as several interior rooms, the event allowed visitors to taste samples of the chili prepared by the competitors. Visitors could cast their own votes for the best chili in addition to the official judging. Live music was provided by the Jay Valor Country Band.
Ralph Egües Jr. of the Knights of Columbus was pleased with the event.
“I’ve been a Knight since 1999,” Egües said. “It’s wonderful that an event like this really brings the broader community together. It’s an opportunity to have fun at the same time as we’re doing good, and we’re raising money for an organization as important as the Wounded Warriors. That organization provides funding for services to service men and women who have been injured either physically or mentally.”
There was an estimated 400 people attending the event over the course of the day, filling the spaces inside and outside with a buzz of conversation and conviviality.
“We were really delighted with the turnout,” Egues said. “It was our first time doing it so we didn’t really know what to expect. The Knights of Columbus has been here in Coral Gables since the 1950s. We’re the second oldest council in Greater Miami and we’re a very young council.”
Commenting on the success of the event, Manny Gonzalez, Deputy Grand Knight and event chair, said, “The uniqueness of our event was that we had the support of law enforcement, first responders, civic, business and religious organizations come together under one umbrella in support of the Wounded Warrior Project.”
Miami Dade County Military Affairs Board executive director Gus Crus presented a proclamation on behalf of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the county commissioners declaring Jan 9 as Knights of Columbus Day in appreciation for their efforts in organizing this event.
The Knights of Columbus hall is available for events of all kinds and the reasonable rental fees provide funding for the organization’s many charitable programs.