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Lindenhurst rib, chili cook-off to benefit CTCA

Updated: April 29, 2013 2:17AM

LINDENHURST — Rib and chili lovers can indulge in a second go-round of tasting a variety of sauces and cooking styles at the Harvest Hill — Ken Smith Memorial Charity BBQ Contest Saturday, March 2, from noon to 3 p.m.

The second Harvest Hill neighborhood cook-off will feature ribs and chili. A third category of judging is “fan favorite” that can feature any food from chicken to gumbo, said organizer Tracy McGrath. Last year’s event was such a success McGrath, a village trustee, and her husband Bill enthusiastically agreed to organize another contest that will be held in the street in front of their house at 2927 Glenarye.

“We think of it as a spinoff of the township Ribfest and another opportunity to gather donations for the township food pantry and raise money for charity,” said Tracy. Her husband’s team was voted fan favorite the first year of the township ribfest, held annually in late January at Caboose Park. “He loves to participate every year, but last year we had a conflict with the date, and the McGrath team was disappointed.”

As a consolation, they opted to organize their own rib fest in the Harvest Hill subdivision, inviting all their neighbors to join in on the fun in front of their house in the development of about 100 homes near McDonald Woods Forest Preserve. “We welcome anyone to join us,” said McGrath. “Based on last year, we expect a lot of participation from neighboring subdivisions, as well as other areas of Lindenhurst and beyond. Anyone who loves to eat ribs and chili is welcome.”

This year, nine teams will compete for top honors. The contest is run similarly to the township rib fest, and judging is based on the same criteria of presentation and taste. Judges will be Lindenhurst Mayor Susan Lahr, Trustee Dominic Marturano, Lake County Board member Tom Weber and village resident Jim Fisher.

The competition also includes a “people’s choice award” based on the team that raises the most money for the designated charity. Last year’s proceeds totaled $1,310, which went to One Hope United.

This year’s proceeds will go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in memory of the late Kenny Smith, who was last year’s fan favorite. “He passed away last year. We wanted to honor him by raising funds for the cancer treatment center where he was receiving treatment,” said McGrath.

Smith was from Grandwood Park, a co-worker and a friend of Bill, who was an enthusiastic outdoor cook. “He was so supportive of the event last year that we wanted to honor him and designate the cancer treatment center to receive the proceeds. This was one of his favorite charities,” said McGrath, adding that anyone is welcome to attend Saturday’s event. “All we ask is they bring a canned food item for the township food pantry and a donation for the Cancer Treatment Center.”

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