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Firefighters, EMS crews prep pots for showdown

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  • | 4:00 a.m. September 2, 2009
  • East County
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LAKEWOOD RANCH — East County firefighters will bring the heat at the first Manatee County Emergency Services Chili Cook Off Sept. 12 on Lakewood Ranch Main Street.

Local EMS groups will be serving up samples of their best chili in hopes of earning a trophy and a year’s worth of bragging rights.

“It’s a fun day and the proceeds benefit the emergency services of Manatee County,” said event chairman Frank Pondillo, a retired New York City Fire Department firefighter. “There’s a lot to do.”

In addition to the spicy treats, the event will feature activities such as face painting, paddle cars, demonstrations by fire departments, tours of fire and EMS trucks, a smoke house, live music by the Rum Runners and other bands and more. Chili sampling will begin at 4 p.m., and the cook off winner will be announced at 7 p.m.

About eight fire districts and EMS groups will be participating in the cook off, including the Southern Manatee and East Manatee fire districts.

Proceeds benefit the Tribute to Heroes Fund Emergency Memorial Fund, a charity that provides financial assistance to firefighters, police officers and EMS workers who have been injured in the line of duty or to their families if they are killed.

The fund was created after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as a way to remember the sacrifices of firemen and emergency workers who responded to the attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and as a way to thank local first responders for their service to the community.

The event will go on rain or shine, Pondillo said.

For information, visit

Contact Pam McTeer at [email protected].

Chili Cook Off
: 3-10 p.m., Sept. 12
WHERE: Lakewood Ranch Main Street
ACTIVITIES: Face painting, paddle cars and other children’s activities as well as fire and EMS truck viewings, a smoke house demonstration, food and drink, and live music. Samplings for the chili cook off will begin at 4 p.m.; the winner will be announced at 7 p.m.
COST: Entrance is free. Donations will be taken.
BENEFICIARY: Tribute to Heroes Emergency Services Memorial Fund

Sept. 11 Memorial Service
WHEN: 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Anthony T. Rossi Waterfront Park, 10th Avenue West and Third Avenue West, Bradenton

Tribute to Heroes Luncheon
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
WHERE: Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, 1005 Barcarrota Blvd., Bradenton
GUEST SPEAKER: U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Xavier P. “Max” Lobeto
TICKETS: Cost is $30. Tickets available at the Manatee Chamber of Commerce building, 222 10th St. W., through Sept. 10. A limited number will be available at the door.
INFORMATION: 748-4842 Ext. 115.

Tribute to Heroes Bash
WHEN: 7 p.m. to midnight
WHERE: Sarasota-Bradenton International Convention Center, 8005 15th St. E., Bradenton.
DETAILS: Activities include raffles and 50-50 drawings and live music by the Dr. Dave Band.
COST: $10 donation