10 restaurants taking part in FWRC event Oct. 23-25
The 2020 Flamborough Chili Fest has a new format due to COVID-19.
Instead of digging in at the Waterdown Legion, chili lovers can visit 10 local restaurants from Oct. 23-25 to taste some delicious chili – and support Interval House of Hamilton and the Flamborough Women’s Resource Centre.
The revamped event, which usually takes place in September and brings all the participating restaurants under one roof at the Waterdown Legion to serve a variety of different chilis, will instead see chili-hungry guests visit one of the participants for a special menu item – with the proceeds supporting the non-for-profit.
The following local restaurants will have a Chili Fest Special Menu Item: Bo’s Sports Bar, Boston Pizza Waterdown, Brogden’s Restaurant, Cascata Bistro, Chef Nina’s Creative Kitchen, COBS Bread Waterdown, Earth to Table Bread Bar Locke, Soups From Me To You, stuffed. Handcrafted Perogies and West Avenue Cider House.
Flamborough Women’s Resource Centre spices things up with new Chili Fest format
If there is one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has done, it has helped people embrace change.
Locally, businesses and not-for-profit organizations have found themselves working in ways they never thought they would. And the Flamborough Women’s Resource Centre (FWRC) is no exception as it chips away at plans for its annual fundraiser.
This year’s Chili Fest, say organizers, will be hotter than ever — with a twist.
With things unfolding almost daily and pandemic restrictions limiting the number of people who can gather, Chili Fest will take on a new format this year, said FWRC Manager Sue Taylor.
The revamped event, usually slated for September, will take place Oct. 23-25. And instead of bringing restaurants under one roof to serve up their special variety of chili to hungry guests, the FWRC is asking restaurants to serve up special menu items with $5 from the sale of each designated Chili Fest dish going to support the not-for-profit.
“Right now, what we’re doing is we’re actually approaching local restaurants in the Flamborough-Waterdown area and asking them if they would like to partner with us,” said Taylor.
This new format will allow for flexibility for restaurants and patrons, alike.
“We want to allow as much comfort for the businesses and for people who want to support us,” said Taylor.
The organizing committee, said Taylor, hopes the event helps stimulate the local economy, promotes local businesses and gets people out to try new food. A list of participating restaurants will be announced at a later date.
“We’re really hoping this is going to be an interesting partnership, an interesting way of doing this and if it’s COVID-OK then we’ll have our chili guy make special appearances throughout the weekend,” she added.
Arriving at the new format, however, was no easy task.
“We struggled,” acknowledged Taylor. “How do you move an event that brings so many people together in a safe way?”
The FWRC is among the many organizations that has been financially impacted by the pandemic. And like many non-profits, it was determined to come up with a creative way to fundraise, proceeds from which ensure vital programs are still available in the community “when women and children need us the most.”
Faced with a “substantial deficit,” Taylor credits the Chili Fest organizing committee for maintaining the momentum and never losing hope for a 2020 instalment of the annual fundraiser.
The pandemic has had tremendous impacts on FWRC clients.
“Certainly, women who were living rurally and families that were living rurally were deeply affected because they’re already experiencing high levels of isolation and then we went into a lockdown,” said Taylor, adding, “I can tell you from being on the front line of it, women and families are reaching out to us at a tremendous rate.”
Since pandemic precautions resulted in the shuttering of the province for several months starting in March, FWRC had to invest in software programs to continue serving clients remotely.
While at the outset there were concerns about being able to reach clients, the technology proved “advantageous,” said Taylor, as it allowed women who may have been struggling to access the centre an opportunity to connect with the FWRC.
“Yes, it feels different when you’re supporting people online but we’re navigating it and women are connecting with us regularly,” she said.
Chili Fest starts today and although the Waterdown festival looks a lot different this year the chili will taste the same.
Instead of lining up at the Waterdown Legion for a bowl of chili, 10 participating restaurants have found a new COVID friendly way to keep the 8th annual festival thriving. Proceeds from the special menus will go towards the Interval House of Hamilton.