Since 2001, members of each club have challenged one another with their finest chili recipes and with colorful decorations and costumes. In the first year, nearly $540 was raised; since then the event has grown every year. Last years event raised over $10,000 for the selected charities and in the eighteen years of the event’s existence, over $117,000 has been raised and donated to local charities.
The public is encouraged to attend the event at the Cedar Rapids Marriott on Feb 10, 2019 from 1-4pm, taste the various chilies (more than 25 are anticipated) and vote for their favorite. Admission is still only $10, which includes tasting of the chilies and five People's Choice vote tickets. Children ages 6 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult; and admission for ages 65 and older is $5. Advance tickets are available for $8 through February 9, 2019 at http://blues-buffett.com/. The club receiving the most People’s Choice votes will receive a plaque and their club’s charity will receive 51% of the proceeds from the event. The runner-up club will receive 49% of the proceeds for their charity.
There will be Celebrity Judges, including local television and radio personalities, to taste and vote on the Overall Best Chili as well as Best Chili in one of four categories. The club receiving a majority of votes for the Best Chili from the judges receives a traveling trophy and bragging rights for their club.
A Silent Auction will again be featured at this year’s event. Typically some of the items up for auction include numerous autographed sports memorabilia, MLB tickets, overnight stays at area hotels/casino’s, and unique craft items. Many other great items in a variety of values will be available on the day of the event. Payment is expected at the end of the auction; cash, checks and credit cards will be accepted. Monies raised from the auction will be included in the donations being made to the charities.
The charities for the 2019 Blues 'n' Buffett Chili Challenge are the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy (Isle of Iowa) and the HD Youth Center (Linn County Blues Society).