Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser expands

After last year’s Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser attracted more than 3,000 attendees to help select the city’s best chili, WMSE 91.7FM is flexing the 2014 event to add space and bring in new entertainment.


The nonprofit radio station’s annual fundraiser, in its 12th year, is anchored by a chili competition that features the chili recipes of more than 50 Milwaukee-area restaurants, cafes and caterers. Through a voting process with input from event attendees, the fundraiser awards chili contenders in five categories: best meat, best vegetarian, most unique chili, best heat, and best vendor display and presentation.

While past chili fundraisers have unfolded in the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s (MSOE’s) Kern Center on the first floor gymnasium, this year’s event will also take place in the second floor field house.

Additional space means additional entertainment for this year’s event, scheduled for Sunday, March 2. New entertainment components include chili pepper races similar to the Miller Park sausage races, a live rockabilly band, and a separate chili competition among Milwaukee Fire Department personnel.

The second floor space will also allow more room for the designated children’s area where Artists Working in Education (AWE) will entertain young attendees with arts and crafts activities.

“We have always strived to make our chili fundraiser a family-friendly event, but prior to this year (we) have been somewhat limited spatially, said Justin Shoman, WMSE development director. “With the expanded venue, we’re now able to provide significant space for AWE to really engage with kids in arts activities. We’re lucky to be working with such a great organization and think the kids and their parents will really appreciate how much space is reserved for children.”

The 2014 Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 2. The Kern Center is located at 1245 N. Broadway in Milwaukee.

Advance event tickets cost $12 and go on sale today. Tickets can be purchased here or at the WMSE studios, located at 820 N. Milwaukee St. in Milwaukee. Children age 10 and under can attend free of charge.

Chili competitors must register for the fundraiser by Thursday, Jan. 23, by contacting Matt Schoeffler at 414-277-4514.

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