Chili Cookoff Aims To Help Needy Kids In Community

OCEAN CITY – Tis’ the season for chili recipes and the 12th Annual Ocean City Parrothead Club’s (OCPHC) Hots for Tots Chili Cookoff.

According to the OCPHC, the club is one of the largest Parrothead Clubs in the world and has raised more than $1 million for non-profit charities. Parrotheads are an international, no-profit organization of people who love the island lifestyle, listen to Jimmy Buffet music and appreciate the meaning of having a good time while donating their time to worthwhile causes.

“We party with a purpose,” the chair of the cookoff and club president India Bandorick said.

Those eligible to enter the public chili cookoff contest are restaurant participants only, but everyone is welcome to attend. It is an admission of $10 per person or a new, unwrapped toy. According to OCPHC, hundreds of patrons and over 50 different chili entries usually come to the event.

The $10 admission is donated to the Worcester GOLD organization for their holiday family campaign. All toys collected are donated to a toy drive for the Worcestor County Sheriff Association’s Needy 2010.

“So everything stays in the county,” Bandorick said.

The money raised from the event is usually around $2,500, and there is always at least 200-300 toys donated, with patrons bringing more than two toys most of the time.

The patron participants will be the judges of the chili cookoff. The event consists of two contests, the chili cookoff and the Best of Show Award.

“Every year restaurants go a little bit further and further,” Bandorick said, “with adding costumes or doing something to their table to make it more festive.”

There are more participants this year then ever before, about 10 new restaurants will be trying out the event for the first time.

“It is going to be a very large event this year,” Bandorick said.

According to Bandorcik, the event that started 12 years ago was something that “just popped into my head”. The club hadn’t done it before and she figured it would be a good way to raise money and do something good for the community.

“I think it is something that everybody looks forward too every year,” Bandorick said. “Everybody come on out. We cant have it unless people come out and enjoy it.”

The event takes place on Sunday, Dec. 5 at the West Ocean City Greene Turtle from 1-4 p.m.

“The competition gets a little heated at times,” Bandorick said. “But all in all the real winners are the kids that are benefiting from the event.”