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Halloween events planned
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Entries being accepted for chili cook-off


It’s time to dust off that recipe from last winter and make a big pot of chili for entry in the First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off.

All proceeds will go to the Food Bank as part of a Sunflower Diversified Services outreach to the community.

The event is set for Saturday, Oct. 30, with a 1 p.m. check-in at the registration booth located at the Barton County Arts Council, Forest and Main. There is no entry fee but goodwill donations will go directly to the Food Bank.

At least three gallons of chili must be prepared off-site and served warm; more than that amount is encouraged. Electricity will be provided but entrants must bring their own extension cords and tape to secure them to the sidewalk. The temperature of the chili must be maintained.

"This is to benefit our local Food Bank and it also promises to be a lot of fun," said Sarah Krom, Sunflower community supports coordinator. "It will be a great venue for enjoying a little friendly competition and tasting all the recipes on a great October day."

The chili must be ready to serve by 3 p.m., when the blind judging will begin. Three media celebrities will serve as official judges, but the public can join in the tasting with the purchase of a $5 bracelet.

Judges will consider flavor, texture, consistency, aroma and presentation. The grand-prize winner will be announced at 6 p.m. and must be present to win. The public voting for Best Booth will end at 5:30 p.m. and winners will be announced 30 minutes later.

Prizes include certificates, ribbons and those all-important bragging rights.

Entrants must have a minimum of a chief cook and one assistant, with a maximum of six adults per team.

"Sunflower truly enjoys reaching out to central Kansans and showing our appreciation for all they do for people with developmental disabilities served by Sunflower," Krom said. "We welcome and encourage cooks to prepare and serve big batches of chili, and the public to come out and have a taste.

"The Food Bank can always use more community support," Krom added. "Participants in the chili cook-off will be able to take personal satisfaction in contributing to this worthy cause."

Sunflower, a non-profit agency, serves babies, toddlers and adults with developmental disabilities in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.



This year’s Halloween Parade will have to work around the construction site of the future Jack Kilby Plaza, but that shouldn’t scare anyone. Plenty of volunteers will be on hand to lead children on a safe route down both sides of Main Street, where businesses will be handing out candy, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30.

Great Bend residents and visitors can get an early start on Halloween this year, with the parade, the Zoo Boo and more on Oct. 30.

The annual Kiwanis Halloween Parade starts at 11 a.m. in the courthouse square. Costumed children can collect candy and then return to the band shell in the square for costume judging, said Amanda Urban with Sunflower Diversified Services. Volunteers who will help with the parade are from the Great Bend Kiwanis club and the Kiwanis-related Aktion Clubs of Sunflower and Rosewood Services. Local law enforcement will also assist with traffic control.

Free photos of kids in costume will be available courtesy of Walgreen’s, Urban said. "They’ll set up a background at Jack Kilby Square," and folks can come to the business for one free 4-by-6 print.

On the afternoon of Oct. 30, there will be a chili cook-off on Main Street, with public tasting from 3-6 p.m. People can buy a "taster bracelet" at the Barton County Arts Center for sampling the entries, and can vote on their favorite booth. (See related story for information on the cook-off. Entries are being accepted now.) This is a new charity event sponsored by Sunflower Diversified Services and proceeds will go to a different non-Sunflower charity each year, said coordinator Sarah Krom. This year’s proceeds will go to the Barton County Food Bank.

The Zoo Boo will take place from 6-8 p.m. at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo. Kids can wear their costumes and trick-or-treat at 50 booths sponsored by local businesses and organizations. The call for volunteers and sponsors went out earlier this year, according to organizer Mark Bretches with the Great Bend Police Department. "We have all of the volunteers we need in place and all the booths are ready."

Zoo Director Scott Gregory reports over 1,500 kids are expected to show up for more free candy. "This year I can guarantee it will be the largest Zoo Boo ever! Almost double the size!" he said.