Published October 2, 2007
There'll be a lot of hot air Wednesday evening when area politicians gather at Avion On The Water, 2177 West Western Reserve Road, but it won't be because of their pontificating about all things irrelevant. Rather, officeholders will be trying to win public support for their ... chili.
The Great Political Chili Challenge, a fundraiser sponsored by the Boardman Optimist Club, will feature 14 politicians and some media types each with his or her version of the American favorite. With at least three gallons at every station, there'll be plenty to taste. For just $10 a ticket (children 6 years and under are admitted free) the public will have the opportunity to not only sample the fare, but vote on "The Hottest Chili," "The Most Original Chili," and "Your Favorite Chili." Ballots for the voting are $1 a piece.
And, in a move that should please the politicians to no end, ballot stuffing is encouraged.
Pete Gabriel, president of the Boardman Optimist Club and a veteran radio personality, is anticipating a good turnout because the money will be used to finance youth projects. It will be a fun evening especially if politicians who don't get along start a food fight. (O.K., that's wishful thinking.)
The politicians who will be on hand to serve up their concoctions (humble chili pie, anyone?) are: Kathy Miller, Anthony Traficanti, Ron Gerberry, Robyn Gallitto, John McNally, Lisa Oles, Dave Ditzler, Randall Wellington, Ken Carano, Larry Wehr, Ted Lyda, Capri Cafaro, Bill Kay and Bo Pritchard.
With such a gathering, you have to wonder if beans in the chili are an absolute necessity.
The Great Political Chili Challenge is being promoted by 570 WKBN, with Dan Rivers and his wife, Cheryl, serving up their version of Talk Chili; The Vindicator, with Editor Todd Franko and this writer doing their Laurel and Hardy Chili Act; and, WKBN TV-Channel 27, with Weatherman Paul Wetzl offering his Stormy Chili.
There also could be some specials: Mahoning County Commissioner Traficanti preparing a batch for his colleague, Commissioner McNally, called the "Oakhill Renaissance Place Special." The key ingredient? Crow.
Or Boardman Township trustees, Miller and Gallitto, could get a special delivery of chili from their colleague, Elaine, who won't be there: "Mancini's Revenge."
Regardless, the mix of politicians and spicy food should be a ... gas.
Doors will open at 6 p.m.