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IMN In The Community: Hail The Chili Master

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Chilifest 2013 grand prize winner Sean Horan with wife Renae of Atlantic Highlands Photo courtesy Charlotte Magee

Hail The Chili Master

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — The Atlantic Highlands Front Porch Club hosted its 9th Annual Chilifest on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the historic Strauss Mansion in Atlantic Highlands. With 39 chili cook-off competitors and 500-plus attendees, the Front Porch Club raised over $16,000 to benefit Henry Hudson Regional School and other community organizations. The school intends to use these and additional funds to support the development of state-of-the-art science labs for its students.

New Tri-District Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Susan Compton, commented after the Chilifest totals were in, “I would like to express our appreciation on behalf of the Henry Hudson Regional Board of Education for a tremendous fund raising event in support of our high school students. We are very pleased and honored that the Front Porch Club would utilize this Chilifest as a fund raiser to provide our students with a state-of-the-art science lab that will include lab tables and other equipment. This will make a significant difference in the lives of students and enhancing the science education program.”

Chili cook-off entrants competed for prizes in four categories, including Best in ’Fest, Most Exotic, Vegetarian and People’s Choice. This year’s grand prize winner was Sean Horan, beating out second place winner Jeffrey Warshauer and third place husband and wife duo Steve McLoughlin and Myra Overby. What got Horan over the top he said was, “getting back to basics.” In previous years he said he worried too much about growing his own peppers and toasting seeds, or as he said “going all out.”

Most Exotic went to Brian Duncan, and Heidi Colangelo defended her Best Vegetarian title from 2012. Also repeating from 2012 were Neil Effron and Ross DiMiceli for the People’s Choice Award, determined for the first time via text-messaging.

Chilifest Planning Chair  Charlotte Magee said, “The magic of this town is in the sense of fun and community that we all share. Chilifest is the perfect example of that, and it’s just as much fun for the kids as it is for the adults. We were happy to collaborate with our local Atlantic Highlands businesses in support of our great town and a great cause.”

This year’s judging panel included Carton Brewing co-owner Augie Carton, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Compton, Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13), chef and owner Ron Marino of Christine’s and 2012 Chilifest Champion Allison Tevald. The Blind Owl Band featuring Raritan native Eric Munley headlined this year’s music lineup with engaging performances also by Cranston Dean and Mick Burke.

Chilifest was made possible through the support of many Atlantic Highlands businesses. The Title Sponsor of Chilifest 2013 was Intercounty Mortgage Network Corp. (Rich Colangelo No. 146813) and Premier Sponsors included Carton Brewing, Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum and Trump National Golf Clubs in Colts Neck and BedminstER. The Diamond Sponsor was Howley Financial Group and the Platinum Sponsor was Blue Bay Inn.

Gold Sponsors included local businesses and organizations: Atlantic Highlands Arts Council, Atlantic Highlands Chamber of Commerce, Atlantic Bagel Company, Burke Banisters & Stairways, Business Enhancement Services + Training, Central Baptist Church, Christine’s, Cliffhanger Productions, Colorbar 51, Copper Canyon, dentist Dr. Christopher, Eastpointe Health & Fitness, Eyes On First, The Flaky Tart, Gateway Press, Gianni’s Italian Specialty Food, Harold’s Spin Studio, HulaFrog, Jaspan Brothers Hardware, Kunya Siam Thai restaurant, Page Chiropractic, Postens Funeral Home, Seastreak, Sherman Jewelers, The Outsourced Office, The Painted Frame, Town Beam, and Zumu.

Event volunteers included members of the Atlantic Highlands Front Porch Club, the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society, the Knights of Columbus Lombardi Council 6552, and the Atlantic Highlands Key Club.

The Front Porch Club

The Front Porch Club (FPC) is a forum for Atlantic Highlands residents to socialize with neighbors, interact with the community and discuss new ideas and issues. The FPC exists to improve the quality of life in Atlantic Highlands by bringing people together online and in person. For more informatiuon visit www.frontporchclub.com.

Photo: Chilifest 2013 grand prize winner Sean Horan, with wife Renae, of Atlantic Highlands. Photo courtesy Charlotte Magee

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