DRYDEN — The savory smell of chili wafted through the air Saturday at Dryden Community Center Cafe’s 13th annual Apple Pie Contest and Chili Cookoff fundraiser.
It’s a tiny bit of America — apples and the quintessential Tex-Mex dish.
“The cafe is a great service to us all,” said Paul Simonet of Dryden, among the dozens of people at the event. “We’re still Americana here and it’s nice to get to know neighbors here and slow your pace down a little bit to enjoy life.”
It’s also a way to raise money for the non-profit cafe.
Representatives from local organizations provided chili for residents to sample and vote on. Individuals provided the pies that were voted on by a panel of judges, including syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson and Dryden High School Principal Kyle Colunio.
“I look forward to this event every year,” said Tammy Annonson, the cafe’s general manager. “We’re trying to bring the community together and this is what this event is about.”
“It’s a lot of people having a good time,” said Evan Kurtz, who dished out vegetarian chili on behalf of the Dryden Rotary, and later sampled some, himself. “It’s a good way to support the cafe and make Dryden a better place.”
Tompkins County Legislator Michael Lane (D-Dryden) said Saturday was the perfect day for the event. The temperature hovered around the freezing point, and the winds were gusty.
“I think chili and apple pie on a cold day like this goes pretty well,” he said.
The event was more important to him than the chili, though.
“This is about community. It’s about friendship and people coming together, supporting this not-for-profit community center we have and trying to have a great time on a Saturday morning,” he said.