The Monon Bell game, a contest between DePauw University and Wabash College is a grand tradition in west-central Indiana. It sparks alumni parties from each institution across the country, brings old friends back to Indiana and can make even the casual football fan excited over the rivalry.
This Saturday, Nov. 16, that rivalry will be played out once again.
The past two years, however, have brought out each school's philanthropic side. In 2011, Tavia Pigg orchestrated the first "Monon Chili Throwdown" in which contestants from each school entered their best chili recipe to raise money for a local cause.
"The idea was that each year, the hosting school would choose the non-profit organization to support," Pigg said. "We were amazed how the participation grew between the first and second years. This year is going to be even bigger."
"Bigger" means more chili contestants, live music and, this year, a more organized effort from the Wabash Brew Club, Interfraternity Council and Wabash Acts Responsibly Clubs.
"It's really two events in one," Pigg said.
The WBC will be hosting a beer garden where over age 21 patrons (ID required) can purchase a commemorative Monon mug for $5 (32 oz) and fill with craft beer from Triton Brewery or Triton Root Beer (if under 21).
The proceeds will go to sponsor a well project in Swaziland which will provide clean drinking water to local residents. Details about this particular project can be reviewed at www.thirstproject.org.
"The chili fundraiser will be sending its proceeds to the reinstated Main Street Greencastle organization," Pigg said. "We believe their group has been working hard to get organized and their mission will benefit the community as a whole."
Christian Shuck, current president of the Main Street Greencastle board was thrilled the group would be the recipient of the Monon Chili Throwdown proceeds.
"When Tavia asked if we would accept the donation, I was really excited! It's a good feeling to know the community is behind what we're trying to accomplish."
Asked about the fact he doesn't live in Greencastle currently, but is leading a group that is community focused Shuck responded, "I think a lot of people don't know the two of us currently on the board who no longer live in the community were born and raised in Greencastle, attended local schools and lived in Greencastle when the rebuilding of Main Street Greencastle began.
"Instead of choosing to quit because we had to move for our jobs, we chose to stay involved and see the rebuilding process through. I don't see any difference between asking people from Crawfordsville to come support a local cause in Greencastle and our willingness to volunteer on a board in the community where we were raised," Shuck added.
This Saturday, students and community residents are encouraged to attend the chili cookoff and support a local organization, or taste beer if they like and support the well project in Swaziland, or both.
Several local homebrewers will be competing for Best Beer in a separate contest decided by volunteer judges.
"A good time will be had by all, and that's all this is about," Pigg said.
Tickets for chili tasting can be purchased at the event, hosted at 816 S. College Ave., across from Longden Hall. The $5 price allows for 10 tastings of chili. Individual tastings are available for 50 cents each. Patrons "vote" for the best chili by contributing to the jar of the contestant.
The cookoff is scheduled for 10 a.m.-noon.
For more information, or to register as a participant in the competition, persons may contact Tavia Pigg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 720-2337.