Once upon a chili
Once upon a time, there was a huge gathering of everyone in the village who ate bowl after bowl of a magical concoction called chili.
One of the chilis, "Satan's Ice Cream," was hotter than a fire-breathing dragon.
Others were not too hot or not too cold. They were just right.
Some chilis, which were not red in color like the others, contained an unusual blend of spices and ingredients not found in this part of the kingdom.
Many of those serving the chili were dressed in flowing garments and had their faces decorated as the fairest in the land. They served their wares from booths that looked like they were straight out of a fairy tale.
Everyone had a wonderful time at this feast fit for kings and the coins given by the villagers helped others throughout the land. They all lived happily ever after.
If you haven't guessed it by now, this story is about United Way of Douglas and Pope County's annual chili feed and silent auction on Tuesday.
This year's event, the 15th annual, carried the theme, "Once Upon a Chili - Grimm Fairy Tales."
Organizers said the event was a huge success, with 36 chili cookers competing for bragging rights to a variety of awards. Here are the winners:
--Best Display: Arabella Manor. Runner-up: Gardonville. Honorable mention: 3M.
--Hottest Chili: Alexandria Fire Department (for its Satan's Ice Cream creation). Runner-up: Massman Design. Honorable mention: Brenton/ProMach.
--Open Division: D Michael B's. Runner-up: Glenwood State Bank. Honorable Mention: Henry's Foods.
--Most Unusual: Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota. Runner-up: Tastefully Simple. Honorable mention: Bremer Bank.
People's Choice: 3M.
A total of 54 volunteers took the challenge to "live united" by volunteering to help make the event a success for the 640 people who attended, according to United Way leaders.
Local businesses contributed more than 120 silent auction items totaling more than $10,000 raised for United Way programs in Douglas County.