Austintown heats things up for Veterans Day

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Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Austintown Fitch High School band students helped serve chili to guests during the annual Chili Cook Off on Nov. 13.

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Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Members from each branch of the military were a judge and voted on their favorite chili during the annual Chili Cook Off at Austintown Fitch High School on Nov. 13.

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Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.After the votes were tallied and the People's Choice winner was announced, the winner received a special statue after the Chili Cook Off on Nov. 13 at Austintown Fitch High School.

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Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Students served chili from Salvatore's Italian Grill at the annual Chili Cook Off on Nov. 13 at Austintown Fitch High School.

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Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Matthew Scannell, a seventh-grade band member, made his own chili for the Chili Cook Off on Nov. 13 at Austintown Fitch High School.

By ALEXIS BARTOLOMUCCI

abartolomucci@vindy.com

Austintown community members brought their best recipes to Austintown Fitch High School for the fifth annual chili cook off on Nov. 13 to salute veterans and help raise money for the band.

This year, there were 13 tables set up selling chili. There were community members, students, band parents and restaurants giving away their own chili recipe to try and win first place.

There would be two chili cook off winners, one determined by the guests who attended and voted and one voted on by judges from each of the military branches. The judges from the military branches did a blind tasting so they would not know whose chili they were trying. They then voted on which chili they liked by writing down the letter that labeled the chili. They also had the opportunity to write down any comments.

Guests who attended had the option of paying for the cook off and concert or just one or the other. Veterans who attended were able to go in for free.

“We have a 50/50 raffle that all the proceeds go to local veterans in need. We get Walmart gift cards and take them to the veterans outreach center,” said Brad Gessner, Band parent and cook off organizer.

There were around 400 band members from concert band and sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade marching band who put on a concert for the guests after the chili cook off. The cook off brings in around 300 people while the concerts brings in around 1,000 people.

The winners were announced at the concert following the cook off. The top three winners for the Military branches choice were the Fitch drumline in first place, Jeanette Danko in second place and Salvatore’s in third place. The People’s Choice Award was won by Austintown Trustees Jim Davis and Ken Carano.

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