Fitch band chili cook-off honors veterans


Austintown Fitch High School hosted an event featuring plenty of chili — and chili lovers — Nov. 12 in honor of Veteran’s Day. With the cafeteria decked out in red, white, and blue, community members showed support for those who have served our nation.

The school’s canceled band night in August led to the idea of having a veteran chili cook-off with a performance by the band as the best way to honor the community’s heroes and hear the band’s show all at once.

Julie Nochta, the 2012 president of the Austintown Band Parents, said preparations for the event have been under way for months and there have been plenty of surprises along the way.

“There were originally 23 competitors in the cook-off, but one person had to cancel this morning,” Nochta said.

In addition to chili, the event offered many tables of cornbread, cupcakes, and more, run by different parts of the band, such as Austintown band ornaments on sale by the Band Parents.

Barry Landgraver, the executive director of the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission, was proud to live in a community that supported both its veterans and its band students so strongly. He also said he greatly enjoyed being able to be a part of this event, as not only a County Veterans Service Officer, but also as a Fitch alum.

“I feel that it’s very important to have a fundraiser like this to help so many people, like the Fitch band. I am happy to see so many people turn out to show their support,” Landgraver said.

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