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Story and Photos by Alice Gerard
There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but Relay For Life improved upon that by providing a free dinner. Relay For Life’s “Crockpot Cookoff,” held at Ellden’s Grill & Banquet, 201 Whitehaven Road, featured a variety of tastings of both main course dishes and desserts.
The food included such taste treats as soups, sandwiches, and desserts flavored with such ingredients as fluff, caramel and fruits. Both judges, which included everyone who came to the event to taste the foods that were offered, and the contestants, which consisted of everyone who brought a crockpot with either a main course dish or dessert, said they enjoyed the event. At the end, the judges selected as winners Kim Kalman’s pulled chicken sliders with coleslaw for best main course dish, and Lynn Dingey’s butterscotch caramel cake for best dessert.
Kalman said, “This is a supercool food event. This is a kickoff event for Relay For Life. People can spread the message of Relay while tasting delicious entries and getting well fed and happy.”
Hayden Garey, a sophomore at Grand Island High School and a member of the “Vikings for a Cure” Relay For Life team, said, “I intend to taste everything. So far, my favorite is the ‘chicken surprise.’ ”
Diane Garey said, “I am enjoying the event. It’s a nice atmosphere. I plan to come next year if there’s another one.”
John Garey said, “I always enjoy this event. I have been coming to it for at least three years.”
When asked what his favorite dishes were, he said, “It’s a toss-up between the pulled pork slider and the turkey and sweet potato chili. It was hearty.”
Deanna Wik, Dana Robinson and Tracy Melisz belong to the Relay For Life team, “Friends Unite to Fight.” They were dishing up burgers and soup. All three said they participate in Relay For Life to remember family members lost to cancer.
“My aunt, Sheri Robinson, is a survivor. We’re so happy,” Robinson added.
Relay For Life’s “Carnival of Hope” is set for 2-7 p.m. Sunday, June 4, at Grand Island Town Commons. It will feature food, vendors, a beer tent, a kid zone, a free dinner for cancer survivors, entertainment and a basket raffle. The luminaria ceremony is scheduled for 9 p.m. For more information, go to www.RelayForLife.org/GrandIslandNY.
Hayden Garey and his parents, Diane and John Garey, enjoy taste testing food at the Crockpot Cookoff.