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Battling for chili bragging rights

Whole Foods employees Sarah Sather, Jill Holmen, Emily Darnell, Cassandra Houston and Shannon Szymkowiak show their "Spicy Spirit" by dressing up as members of KISS. (Photos by Raquel Tahtinen)1 / 8
Farley's Family Restaurant employees Kelly Trumpold, Alex Dichouse and Tony Bosiaskia show their joy of winning first place in the professional division.2 / 8
Famous Dave's chili won second place. Employees Ben Tocholke and Mike Hanson worked the restaurant's booth.3 / 8
SOAR Career Solutions employees Sara Romagnoli, Emily Aldritt and Emily Edison dish out their third place award-winning chili.4 / 8
The YWCA received first place in the Amateur Division. Seen here are Shawnu Albertus and Kelly Hollis.5 / 8
Grandma's Saloon and Grill employees: Tim Abrahamson (left), Samantha Hanson, Todd Whaylen and Craig Erickson served up bowls of "North Shore Chili." It is the same chili served in all of the restaurants. They won the People's Choice award.6 / 8
Saint Ann's Residence chili won third place. Top: Kristy Damkroeger, prep cook (left) and Anthony Johnson, food service director. Bottom row: Sandy Lewis, cook/baker (left) and Nora Mahlberg, cook.7 / 8
The 23rd annual "Chili Cook-off" drew in about 1,500 attendees, according to United Way's estimate.8 / 8

Things got a little "chili" last week as the United Way of Greater Duluth held its 23rd annual Chili Cook-off at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Thursday, Sept. 11.

About 1,500 people turned out to taste and vote on the best recipes while 39 participants competed for chili honors. United Way Partner Agencies set up a fair to provide information about local volunteer opportunities.

"What I enjoy about this event is it helps us get excited to see all the support we have from the community. It is a true example of 'living united.' People from all across the community are involved," said Tracy Gilsvik, United Way spokesperson.

And the winners are...

Grandma's Restaurants' North Shore Chili received the most votes from attendees and won the People's Choice Award. In the Professional Division, Farley's Family Restaurant won first place, Famous Dave's took second and St. Ann's Residence came in third.

In the Amateur Division, the YWCA received first place, Valley Youth Center got second and Soar Career Solutions took third.

The Valley Youth Center also won the "Hottest-Yet-Edible" award for its spicy mixture. Famous Dave's won the "Most Unique" award. ARC Northland received an award for their vegetarian chili.

Whole Food's Co-op won the "Spicy Spirit" award for the second year in a row. This year the Co-op used a KISS theme for their booth as staff members took on the personas and heavy make-up of the band members.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

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