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Chili cook-off aims to raise money for Dunmore HS Band Boosters

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DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WOLF) -- Thick and meaty.

Sweet and fiery.

Hot and spicy.

And there were plenty more flavors to go around at the third annual Dunmore High School Band Booster’s Chili Cook-Off.

For $15, cooks can enter their version of the classic dish for the chance to win a cash prize.

Its all in support of the band boosters, who in turn support the students in the band.

“We do a lot of things for the kids, we feed them during band camp in the summer, we try to support them when they go on their big trips. Our kids perform at Disney, they perform in Nashville, so it gets expensive so we want to give them some extra help to get them there,” Leslie Culkin, president of the music boosters, said.

Band mom and chairperson Pam Pasko came up with the idea.

She hosted it at her home, before expanding. Now, its held at the VFW on Chestnut Street.

This year, tasters get to choose between 22 different chilis, each one only identified by a number. After tasting each one, they cast their vote.

Carisa Stout is the reigning champ – having won not only last year, but the year before as well.

“The secret ingredient is the love. The love is the secret ingredient, that’s all I can say, that’s why its good,” Stout said.

But 21 other cooks are hoping to steal that title and crown from her and have their own techniques to creating the perfect pot of chili.

“Well you gotta take it slow, you cook it, takes a couple hours, try to make it a little sweet in the beginning and as you eat a couple, make it a little spicier,” Electric City Pizza owner John McDonald said.

But in the end, its all in good fun for a good cause.

“I mean its great. These kids, they need a lot in these times so the band’s a good way for all the kids to make friends and express their talents and this is just great. You’ve got everybody out here as you can see, coming together as a community and coming together as friends and you make more friends and its just fun,” last year’s runner up Joe Kalinowski said.

And it looks like that secret ingredient Stout puts in her chili helped her take home the title again.

She’s the winner for the third year in a row.

The boosters were able to raise $3400.

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