Sterling Foundation: Chili Cook Off March 23 Part of New Community Focus

Sterling Foundation: Chili Cook Off March 23 Part of New Community Focus

The Sterling Foundation and Sterling Ruritan Club are teaming up for a new event this year. They are hosting a Chili Cook-Off from 1 to 5 p.m. on March 23 at the Sterling Ruritan.

Tickets for the event are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Organizers expect more than a dozen private participants as well as restaurants and local chefs to offer their favorite chili recipes for tasting.

Tickets include event access, chili tastings, and two tickets for food or drink.

Beer and wine will be available for purchase, and The band “Nick Ian and the Machine” will provide live music.

According to Amber Kerico, who is vice-chairwoman of the Sterling Foundation and also a member of Sterling Ruritan, the event is the result of brain-storming among community members.

“We are trying to partner with Ruritan because we have the feeling that Sterling doesn’t have enough events,” Kerico said. “We want to have some more fun stuff to offer the community and engage members of all ethnic groups, ages, and cultures.”

Kerico said she and Sterling Foundation Chairwoman Chery Villalobos worked with the Ruritan Club and local foodie Suzanne Belt on launching the cook-off event. All cooks must email Belt at to enter the event.

“It is going to be a lot of fun,” Kerico said. “I think we will have about 15 cookers, and there also will be local restaurants trying to win the title ‘Best of Sterling Chili.’”

Sterling Ruritan is at 183 Ruritan Road in Sterling. For more information or to buy tickets, visit

Kerico said the chili event is part of a larger effort by the Sterling Foundation to become more visible in the community.

“We are doing a total rebranding with a totally revamped marketing approach,” Kerico said. “We are about ready to launch a new website and we have a new mission. We really want to be the voice of Sterling. We have been around for about 30 years and we sponsor SterlingFest and community cleanups, but we want to be more involved and more visible.”

Kerico said the foundation is taking over the Sterling Strong 5K race she started last year as part of her effort to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She said the foundation is looking to add events like these to SterlingFest in the fall and community clean-up efforts. The annual Stream Cleanup is April 6, with crews meeting at Sterling Middle School at 8 a.m. For more information, visit

“We really want to be the voice of their hometown,” Kerico said. “We are trying to bring everyone together. That is our mission.”

Separate from the Sterling Foundation – but very much Sterling related — Kerico is also involved in the Patriot Pride movement that was started when Park View High School was forced to cancel its varsity football season due to lack of participation.

Kerico said the first Patriot Pride Classic golf fundraiser is scheduled May 18, with proceeds going to Park View athletics. The golf fundraiser is also an offshoot of Kerico’s LLS efforts a year ago.

“We are doing it again but for a completely different reason,” Kerico said. “We are trying to raise a couple thousand dollars to support athletics at Park View.”

Joseph Dill