Soup’r Chili Challenge Tuesday

Daily Press file photo The team from Great Lakes First Federal Credit Union serves up bowls of soup for hungry guests of the 2015 Soup’r Chili Challenge.

ESCANABA — The United Way of Delta County will be kicking-off its fall fundraising campaign with the 23nd annual Soup’r Chili Challenge on Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will take place at the Ruth Butler building, located on the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds in Escanaba.

According to Julie Mallard, executive director of the United Way of Delta County, the theme for this year’s challenge is “Yooper.”

All chefs are invited to decorate a booth and wear costumes that following the theme, said Mallard, adding by doing so, it only adds to the fun atmosphere of the challenge.

“It’s always fun to see what they come up with,” said Mallard.

For the challenge, chefs enter their soup or chili in one of two divisions: restaurant and non-restaurant. Prizes will be awarded in each division with judges choosing the best soup/chili for both divisions. There will also be a grand prize for the people’s choice overall in both chili and soup, said Mallard. The panel of judges for this year’s challenge are representatives from the Bay de Noc Brewers.

In addition, the decorations at the booths will also be judged, said Mallard, with attendees choosing their favorite for an award.

Chefs must cook eight to 10 gallons of soup or chili either in their own commercial kitchen (restaurant division) or on-site at the Ruth Butler building (non-restaurant division.)

Mallard noted there are not as many chefs as in years past, so she encourages people to come earlier rather than later, so they can try all the samples available.

On top of the tasting of soup and chili, Mallard said there will be a wide variety of bucket raffles, 50/50 and other prizes. Most of the bucket raffle prizes have been donated by the chefs, noted Mallard.

Partner agencies will also be in the Ruth Butler building handing out information about the various community projects that United Way of Delta County helps fund, said Mallard, adding this gives the community an opportunity to see where and how United Way funds are being distributed throughout Delta County.

Everyone is encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to help the Salvation Army food pantry, said Mallard. Mallard said having people bring an item to donate is a great way to help the Salvation Army, which also serves as a partner agency for United Way of Delta County.

Over 500 people attend the challenge each year, said Mallard, adding the event is a great way to remind community members that it is United Way fundraising time.

“The community really enjoys this event,” said Mallard.

For more information on the Soup’r Chili Challenge, contact the United Way office at 786-3736 or email Mallard at Inquiries also may be made on Facebook, just search United Way of Delta County.