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Chili and Chowder: fill up for a good cause


June 23, 2010
GORHAM — The Gorham Firefighter's Association (GFA) is going to let you be the judge of who makes the best chili in the region.

The GFA is holding their third annual Chili and Chowder Cookoff at the Gorham Fire Station next Thursday, July 1. The event is a fundraiser, but one where everyone gains: GFA president Phil Cloutier said he's sure no one will go home hungry.

Anyone interested in being a contestant must arrive between 5:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. to register. The judging, which is open to anyone who buys a ballot, will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 pm. Ballots are $2.

"We raise the money for stuff that isn't exactly in the fire department budget," Mr. Cloutier said.

Last year, the big purchase was a cutter/spreader, commonly called the "Jaws of Life." They allow firefighters and emergency personnel to get into cars when people are trapped inside.

"There wasn't any money in the fire department budget to buy it," he said, but the GFA and the EMS association came up with $5,400 to buy it.

The GRA is made up of fire department members, but it isn't supported by tax dollars.

"It isn't town money," Mr. Cloutier said. "We raise it ourselves."

In addition to the jaws, the GFA built a sprinkler room to demonstrate the value of sprinkler systems in fire suppression, and they have a scholarship fund for children of department members.

The Chili and Chowder Cookoff is one of several events they use to raise that money. In the past, Mr. Cloutier said, they had as many as 75 people come out to sample nine different dishes. This year they're hoping turnout will be even bigger.

Contestants should bring a minimum of two gallons of chili or chowder, the GFA said in a press release, because the more contestants bring the more people will taste and the more potential votes they will receive. An empty pot may be a sign of a good recipe, but it isn't a good tactic to win first prize.

The prizes include trophies this year, as in years past, but there is also something more.

"This year it's actually going to be sponsored by Riverside Speedway," Mr. Cloutier said, and they have donated tickets as well.

The GFA doesn't have anything lined up to purchase with the proceeds this year, he said, but they always looking for how they can partner with the fire department to better protect the community.

For more details on the contest rules contact Gorham Firefighters' Association President Phil Cloutier at 466-5212, or at partsphil@hotmail.com.

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