Grill for Good Saturday Raises Money for Kent Charities
Day-long event brings area foodies together downtown
The aroma of altruism will fill the air Saturday in downtown Kent as the 3rd Annual Grill for Good brings grill afficionados together for a friendly competition in support of area charities.
The festival will encompass HomeTown Bank Plaza and part of North Water Street as more than a dozen local grillers break out the barbecue and beer to raise money for Coleman Professional Service and Family and Community Services. Both non-profits manage a variety of services in Kent ranging from running homeless shelters to providing financial and mental health counseling.
The cookout cook-off pits local amateur grillers and professional chefs against each other to see which connoisseur has the most delicious eats. The event, which features live music and a beer tent, officially starts at noon and runs until 6 p.m. with local "celebrity" judging.
Marilyn Sessions, one of the event's organizers and a competitor, said the 8 a.m. staging for chefs guarantees downtown will be filled with the smells of barbecue in time for lunch.
"Last year we had people stop who said they didn't even know this was going on downtown until they smelled everything cooking," Sessions said.
So far, 14 cooks have signed up to take part in the fundraiser, but interested chefs have until Wednesday to sign up if they want to take part. You can download the application for the event, in .pdf format, attached to this article.
The event costs $10 to enter and the entry fee earns you three tickets, which you can exchange for samples of the barbecued offerings at the grill tents of your choice. If you try something you like, you can buy more sample tickets during the event. All proceeds go to both charities.
Last year, the event raised $4,000 — double its inaugural amount of $2,000 — for both non-profits.
"We'd love to be able to double that again," Sessions said.
Grill stations open at noon, and local band Up Til 4 also starts playing at the plaza at noon. Three local judges — Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala, Kent State Football assistant coach Jeff Burrow and one surprise to be named judge — will sample the chefs' offerings via a blind taste test to determine first, second and third place among the amateurs. One winner of the professional entries will be chosen and will get the traveling plaque declaring them the winner until next year's event.
At 2:30 p.m., the winners of the judging will be announced, and then at 3 p.m. local band the Bluestones will take the plaza stage and play until 6 p.m.
The event will incorporate a Kent Patch poll inviting readers and visitors to vote for their favorite amateur chef, who will have the satisfaction of bragging rights.
Beer will be for sale via a "beer tent" set up in similar fashion to the alcohol area during the Art & Wine Festival. A craft beer will be available along with soda, water and other beverages.
Foodies can look forward to a main entry from most of the chefs along with a secondary dish, Sessions said. A local favorite, "The Teddy," an Italian sandwich made by Al Siciliano and a favorite at Theodore Roosevelt High School football games, will be available Saturday.
"There's plenty of items for vegeterians, too," Sessions said.