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Milford Chili Festival Raises $6K for Special Olympics

Firefighters and police officers cook up award-winning chili while supporting Special Olympics.


Update as of 5 p.m. March 6:

The results are in -- both the chili contest winners and the amount of money raised for Special Olympics of Connecticut.

In a statement issued March 5, officer Jeffrey Nielsen of the said, "The event was a huge success with over 300 people attending, raising over $6,600 for Special Olympics of Connecticut. We wish to thank all of the event attendees, volunteers, businesses who donated and the Milford Yacht Club for hosting this event." 

Judges were from , , Crush Sports Café, , Special Olympics Athlete Beth and celebrity guest John Ratzenberger.

The original article follows:

Move over Bobby Flay. The is a cooking force to be reckoned with.

The city's firefighters took home First Place in the Judge's Choice category at the 6th Annual Milford Yacht Club Police and Firefighter Chili Festival on Saturday, beating out competition that included departments from throughout the area.

The annual event, a fundraiser for Special Olympics of Connecticut, brings out families from Milford and beyond -- to enjoy chili and support the organization.

Paul Kovlakas has been volunteering at the festival for the last four years. His wife, Lisa, is on the Special Olympics of Connecticut's board. They were there with their children. "We try to make it a family event," Kovlakas said while trying some chili from the West Haven Police Department.

In addition to the $10 it cost to taste the chili, funds were raised through the sale of raffle tickets. Board of Aldermen member Paula Smith was filling out some raffle tickets to try her luck at a prize.

"What's great about this is it's another one of these volunteer events in Milford," she said. "It's just a lot of fun."

donated the venue, staffing, soft drinks and the main ingredients for the chili recipes for all participating teams, for a sixth consecutive year. The was among this year’s sponsors and many people donated their time to help out, including Steve Staurovsky, a retired detective, and his son Nick, 20, who were manning the admission table.

The celebrity judge this year was John Ratzenberger, a Bridgeport native who most will remember as Cliff Clavin, the mailman on the sitcom Cheers. He was joined on the judge's panel by area chefs and Special Olympics athletes.

Other winners were:

  • 2nd Place Judge's Choice -- Stratford Fire Department
  • 1st Place People's Choice -- Stratford Fire Department
  • 2nd Place People's Choice -- Fairfield University Public Safety Department

At the end of the day, no matter what chili tickled one's tastebuds, everyone left with a good taste in their mouth knowing that they were supporting a good cause -- Special Olympics of Connecticut.

Ken Fellenbaum March 04, 2012 at 03:43 PM
This is a terrific FUNdraising event for a worthy cause at a wonderful venue! Saw a lot of friends and enjoyed the ALL the chili (had "seconds"). Great to see those sworn to "protect & serve" serving in this way.

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