Lake County EXPO draws a crowd

Winners of the chili cook-off contest at the Lake County EXPO join contest organizers Hailee Rucker, l-r, Kerry Rucker, Carmen Dick (first place), and Sarah Bowersox (second place). Not pictured: Dirk Tibbets (third place).

Around 200 people flocked to the Lake County EXPO to win door prizes, talk to vendors, and enter chili into the annual cook-off contest at the Lake County EXPO on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Lake County Fairgrounds.

The daylong event featured vendor booths, demonstrations, food, prizes, and the ever-popular chili cook-off.

The chili cook-off contest was a fierce competition between four chefs who submitted their original chili recipes to be judged by Delbert Caswell, Arvinder Singh, Abby Finetti and Kevin Winter.

First place went to Carmen Dick, who won a $100 Visa gift card, second place to Sarah Bowersox worth a $50 Visa gift card, and third place to Dirk Tibbets, receiving a $25 gift certificate to the Happy Horse Deli. The judges were unanimous in their decision for first place, while second and third place were split decisions.

Janet Leslie submitted a turkey meat chili with brown sugar, tomatoes, green chilis, green bell pepper and red long pepper. Dirk Tibbets had the judges try his no-bean chili, which featured chuck steak, two types of bell peppers, jalapenos, cajun seasoning, onions, cumin, cayenne pepper, and three types of tomatoes.

Sarah Bowersox’s chili included ground beef along with oregano, cardamom, cayenne pepper, onions, cilantro, chili powder, cinnamon, two types of tomatoes, and cannellini beans.

Carmen Dick’s chili featured Worcestershire sauce, sea salt, garlic salt, soy sauce, Tabasco, kidney beans, black beans, burger meat, jalapenos, kidney beans, and stewed tomatoes.

There was also a cooking demonstration from Lakeview High School Culinary Arts teacher June Dick. Showcasing her skills in front of an audience, Dick prepared two of her most popular recipes -- banana crumb cake and corn salsa. People who were intrigued by the recipes could take instruction cards home.

Over $1,000 worth of door prizes were offered throughout the day, as well as discounted admission fees with a coupon printed in the Examiner. Raffle bins were placed at each booth, and the more booths people visited the more chances people had to win door prizes.

Booths ranged from the Oregon Department of Corrections, looking for people who might be interested in becoming correctional officers, to Lake Health District offering a wide variety of information about their new medical system and more. Vendors from Mary Kay, Harlan’s Furniture and Appliance, and Legacy Furniture of Klamath Falls packed the Lake County Fairgrounds as well with new products on display. Also part of the vendors selling items on-site were the Painted Fringe Boutique and the Red Barn Boutique, both proving popular at the EXPO.

The annual EXPO is held every February at the Lake County Fairgrounds as a way to showcase many of the regional businesses in Lake County. The event is organized by the Lake County Examiner.

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