Fundraising cook-off to resume next year
By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- For nine years, Indian River County residents have associated fall with chili, and lots of it, but this year, their appetites will not be satiated.
This November would have seen the 10th annual Indian River County Firefighter's Chili and Salsa Cook-off, but scheduling conflicts have led to its cancellation with less than a month left until the event.
"We are so saddened to release this news but due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control the Florida Bacon & Garlic Festival, Florida Bacon & Brews Fest and the annual Indian River County Firefighters' Chili and Salsa Cook-off has been cancelled," a press release from Strike Team Productions said.
Strike Team Productions is the operations organizer behind the annual festival and Indian River County firefighter Capt. David Dangerfield is the event spokesman and organizer.
The event will be back next year, but this year's rendition had to be called off, Capt. Dangerfield said.
Rather than cross their fingers and hope the last-minute coordination efforts could be resolved, only to have to cancel the event even closer to the event date, he decided to take everything off of the burners.
"It was an extremely tough decision, but out of respect for people that are traveling a distance, or buying product and investing a lot of time and money into this, I made the decision to cancel," he said.
On the Indian River County Firefighters' Chili and Salsa Cook-off Facebook page, supporters expressed their dismay at the cancellation.
"Wish there was a dislike button," one Facebook user said.
"So sad. One of the big events I look forward to every year. We'll miss you and hope to hear what happened so hopefully can prevent it from occurring again," another post read.
"We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause anyone and hope that you know that if we could have done anything differently, we would have done so. The Chili Cook-off has been a beloved annual community tradition for the last ten years and we will keep you updated for future plans for next year," the press release said.
The festival has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception, by adding a salsa competition component, beer garden and this year it would have debuted the Florida Bacon and Garlic Festival and the Florida Bacon and Brews Fest, further extending the weekend celebration.
Because of the growth in attendance, this year's festival would have been held at the Indian River County Fairgrounds. The festival has always used the proceeds from the cook-off event to benefit local children's charities.
The charities, which include Childcare Resources of Indian River County, have been notified of the event's cancellation.
"We hope that people will continue to support them. We don't put this event on for us, we do it for them and for the community," Capt. Dangerfield said.