Unpredictable Weather Does Not Thwart The Community Spirit In Rhinecliff


RHINECLIFF: The Rhinecliff Volunteer Fire Co. & Rescue Squad held its Ninth Annual Field Day, Chili Cook-Off and Pie Contest on Saturday Sept.14 at Firemen’s Field in the Hamlet of Rhinecliff.

While the rain may have hampered the kids’ games in the field, the chili and pie competitions took place without a hitch. By 4:30pm, there were a total of 10 Chili contenders vying for the title of Chili Champion of Rhineciff and five delectable-looking pies entered in the Bake-Off. Chili entries varied from the Chicken White Bean to Smoked Pork and Vegetarian. Contestants were Jean Jaeger, Clementine & Moses and Zach Bendiner and C.J. Wilde (Beef), Dana Polan (Smoked Pork), Joe Baer and Bill Cotting (Chicken) and Georgeta Penepent, Cheri Cotting, Andre and Crew (Vegetarian). In the end, it was Joe Baer with his Lucky Taco Chicken Chili that came in 1st place and Clementine, Moses and Zach Bendiner with a Classic Beef Chili that took home both Honorable Mention and the People’s Choice Award.

In the Pie-Baking Contest, pie contestants included Jean Jaeger (Peach), CJ Wilde (Pecan & Apple), and Katherine Varadi who came in with an Honorable Mention for her Blueberry Pie. First place Award went to Lisa Gitelman for her Rhubarb Berry Pie.

Stated the judges Sandy Bartlett, Paul Butler, and Lou Cacciabaudo, after the event,

“All the chili entries this year were exceptional, and the pies were fantastic. It was tough to make a choice for “The Best.” Six-time winner Paul Butler added, “I didn’t realize how hard this would be. Next year I’ll be back as a contender!”

In the end, it was the Hamlet of Rhinecliff that was the biggest winner of the day. Said Cynthia Baer, coordinator of the event, “Every year we put up the tent and hope that people come out to participate in our amateur Chili-Cook Off. We come together as a community through the bonds of good food and fun. The community never lets us down even in unpredictable weather. This year nearly every winner donated their awards back to the firehouse. The money will help to build the picnic shelter we are working on.” Plans are currently underway to construct a conservative 40 x 20 ft. Picnic Shelter at Firemen’s Field. “This is a project that the whole Hamlet can rally around. It will benefit the entire community by giving everyone an accessible, convenient location to have small gathering and picnics. With a little luck and a lot of work, we hope to have it finished for the next Chili Cook Off. I said that last year, but I am not giving up.” Donations for the Picnic Shelter Project can be sent to the Rhinecliff Fire Co, PO Box 6, Rhinecliff, NY 12574. Earmark “Picnic Shelter.” For more information about the Picnic Shelter Project, email C Baer at csproductions@aol.com.

Photo:2019 Winners’ Circle: From left to right, standing, Zach Bendiner, 2019 Chili Champion, Joe Baer and Pie Baker Honorable Mention, Katherine Varadi. First row, friend, Milo Tourtelot with Honorable Mention and People’s Choice, Clementine and Moses Bendiner.

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