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United Way Chili Cook-off winners announced

Celeste Cermak, left, and Doug Fuller, both with First Realty, served Bambi Goodwin a bowl of their pumpkin chili at the 19th annual United Way Chili Cook-off Wednesday afternoon at Paul Bunyan Ball. First Realty was one of 35 booths taking part in the event. See list of winners on page 10. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper1 / 2
Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper Kahse Aitkinson, center, and Heidi Hoheisel, right, both with the Evergreen House, serve Dian Sizer their "Shoe Leather Chili" at the 19th annual United Way Chili-Cook Off Wednesday afternoon at Paul Bunyan Mall.2 / 2

The United Way's "Nursery Rhyme-Chili Time" Chili Cook-off, held on Wednesday at the Paul Bunyan Mall, was the opening for the United Way's 24th annual campaign for the community.

Thirty-five cooks took part in the event. More than 520 people attended the event and $2,418.09 was raised for the United Way campaign.

During the program, Johnny Lee Walker, United Way campaign vice chair, along with help from Pam Beard, communications committee member, announced the total raised by nine Pacesetter businesses. Pacesetters set the pace for United Way's campaign by conducting their workplace campaigns early and through employee giving, corporate commitments and internal fundraisers.

They raised a total of $121,025.50, which is 29 percent of the United Way's overall campaign goal of $417,000.

The 2010 Pacesetter businesses are Beltrami Electric Cooperative, First National Bank Bemidji, JCPenney, North Country Business Products, North Country Health Services, Potlatch, RiverWood Bank, Target and United Parcel Service.

The Chili Cook-off had five celebrity judges: Bill Maki, Bemidji State University; Dave Brooks, Paul Bunyan Broadcasting; Mark Ricci, RP Broadcasting; Danelle Cauble, VisitBemidji; and Dennis Weimann, Lakeland News. They judged based on the aroma, taste, texture, appearance and creativity.

Awards to chili cooks were given in various categories:

First Place Celebrity Division Chili: Paul Bunyan Broadcasting

First Place Business Division Chili: First Realty

First Place Restaurant Division Chili: Cabin Coffeehouse

First Place Corporate Division Chili: Kraus Anderson

First Place Non-Profit Division Chili: Bemidji Jaycees

Most Creative Chili Cook Award: Kraus Anderson - Peter's Pumpkin Patch Café

Best Presentation Award: Bemidji State University - Goldilocks and the three Beavers

Best Name Award: RiverWood Bank - Mrs. Tuhl's Toot-Toot Fuel

Taster's Choice: North Country Business Products with $51.03

Best Overall Chili Award: Cabin Coffeehouse

The United Way campaign for the community will run through Oct. 31. Funds raised will support United Way community impact initiatives and year-round programs that address new and emerging needs.