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Chili feed being offered at Backus for 'Icebox Days'

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Backus Community Center in International Falls again will offer a hot chili meal as part of Icebox Days on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 2-4 p.m. on the stage.

The cost is $8 (U.S.) for a large bowl of chili and $5 for a smaller bowl (all meals include cornbread, condiments, beverages, and a cookie).

This year's chili will be prepared and served by the Knights of Columbus—the “Chili Challenge” winners in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

“The public has spoken,” said Robin Bjorkquist, the event planner at Backus.

"[The] Knights of Columbus have consistently prepared the favourite chili so we invited them to cook and serve this year.

“We want them to get the public recognition for working hard to come up with that secret recipe that everyone loves,” she noted.

The annual chili cook-off started in 2009 as a “throw down" type cooking contest, popular on TV shows such as "Iron Chef.”

Previous winners included Hardees (2009-10), The Coffee Landing (2011), Cynthia Warren (2012), VFW (2013), Bruce and June Wilson (2014), Teresa Rom (2015), and the Knights of Columbus (2016-18).

The KCs not only took the fan favourite award last year but it was deemed the best chili by an independent panel of judges.

The chili feed is a fundraising event for Backus operational funds.

“It costs an average of $1,500 a day to keep the doors open to Backus,” said business manager Hoa Sobczynski.

“In order to be useful to the community, we, like other non-profits, must continually raise funds to serve International Falls.”

Backus not only is home to rental tenants, such as Karen Tveit's Area Agency on Aging office and Darcie Schulz's dance studio, but also offers a warm, safe place to walk, bi-weekly “Community Café‚” meals, and the large space needed for Ruby's Pantry food distribution.

“Our purpose is to serve the community in a variety of ways,” said executive director Ward Merrill.

The annual Community Wellness Action Council (CWAC) Wellness Expo again will be on the Backus stage over Icebox Days.

The expo will be open on the Friday from 5-7:30 p.m. and again on the Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information or details about the expo, contact CWAC on Facebook at “Community Wellness Action Council.”

For more information on the chili feed, contact the Backus Community Center (located at 900 5th St.) at 1-218-285-7225 or online at www.backusab.org

For Icebox Days events, contact the Falls Chamber of Commerce at 1-218-283-9400 or online at www.ifallschamber.com

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