Arvada Fire hosts 11th Annual Firehouse Chili Cook-Off

Cook-Off returns after COVID-19-induced hiatus, held at Elks Lodge for first time

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Green and red chili galore filled the Arvada Elks Lodge on Dec. 6, as the Arvada Fire’s 11th Annual Firehouse Chili Cook-Off returned after a one-year COVID-induced hiatus.

All eight Arvada Fire Protection District fire stations and one member of AFPD’s board of directors entered homemade chili, with Station 5’s B shift’s entry garnering the most votes for having the most delicious overall chili. Station 2’s green chili had the most votes in that category.

Attendees who purchased tickets were able to sample all the entries and vote on which was their favorite. All proceeds from the event benefit Friends of Arvada Fire, a 510(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that raises money to purchase equipment for the department not included in AFPD’s budget.

Friends of Arvada Fire President Sue Steward said she was excited to have the event back after being forced to cancel last year.

“It’s unnerving and exciting. With the announcement of the mask mandate, we were concerned we wouldn’t be able to hold it,” Steward said. “We’re really excited to be here with the Elks and hold this in-person.”

Mark Ferguson, a member of Friends of Arvada Fire, stressed the importance of the event as a fundraiser for the foundation.

“This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. It allows us to buy equipment that’s not in the fire department’s annual budget,” Ferguson said. “In the past, we’ve bought stretchers, years back we bought all of the rigs tactical vests for active shooters.”

The cook-off was held at the Elks Lodge for the first time after the former location, Kline’s Beer Hall, closed last year. Ferguson said the space at the Elks Lodge was superior 

“We got with the Elks and they’re helping us out here, so this is like 100 times better. It’s much bigger and more spread out,” Ferguson said.

Elks Lodge Manager and Trustee Pat Salankey said the partnership came to fruition because of an overlap between the Elks and AFPD.

“We have a few firemen in our lodge. They obvious do great things for our community and we do good things for the community and have a great facility,” said Salankey. “It’s good for the community; they can win a lot of money. We’re looking forward to a great success.”

The chili entrants were renamed with reindeer names to keep the voting impartial.

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