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Beer and chili festival to benefit Sacramento’s young artists

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Sacramento Beer Week kicks off Friday with more than 300 events to celebrate the region’s diverse beer industry. Events include beer tastings, pub crawls and food pairings over 10 days at breweries, bars and restaurants throughout Sacramento Valley.

The Sacramento Artists Council, in partnership with Dad’s Kitchen and The Sacramento Press, will host Sacramento’s first Beer and Chili Festival on March 3 from noon – 4 p.m. at Southside Park.

Attendees will receive a 5-ounce beer mug for unlimited tastes from 18 breweries from around Sacramento and the state, as well as a cup for chili tastings from several participants in the chili cook-off. Participants are encouraged to make vegetarian and meat varieties of chili.

Contestants can sign up  to participate until the day before the event in one of three categories – individual, corporate or industry. One winner will be selected from each category, with a trophy and gift certificates for the winners of the individual and corporate entries. The industry winner will receive a traveling trophy to be displayed in its business for one year.

The identities of the judges will not be revealed until the day of the event, in order to protect the integrity of the competition, said Susan Rabinovitz, founder and executive director of the Sacramento Artists Council.

The criteria for the winning recipes are aesthetics, aroma, texture and taste.

Among the breweries that will be pouring are Ruhstaller, Sudwerk, Sutter Buttes Brewing and New Helvetia Brewing Company.

Julio Peix, event organizer and co-owner of Dad’s Kitchen, said there has never been a chili cook-off in Sacramento, and he anticipates this will become an annual event.

“Sacramento seems like the perfect place to do this,” Peix said. “It’s a great way to showcase Sacramento, and it’s just going to get bigger and bigger.”

In addition to beer and chili, attendees can expect live music from local musicians including As Yet Untitled, assorted food vendors and a kid-friendly environment, Peix said.

The children’s area will include a craft area where kids can create paper bag puppets and paint.

The event will raise money for high-risk and homeless youth through programs that provide art therapy and exposure to job skills, Rabinovitz said.

Rabinovitz said she hopes to raise $35,000 at the event, and the funds will also be used to purchase new shoes for kids, and for programs like “Staging a Miracle” that provide art and music education to local children.

Artist Gina Rossi  will be at the event to create a metal sculpture with the help of Sacramento youth to showcase one of many programs that will benefit. Rossi also designed the trophies for the winners.

“She is illustrating everything the Sacramento Artists Council does in her work with high-risk teens or homeless kids,” Rabinovitz said. “(Rossi) gives them a sense of accomplishment, a sense of community, of art, in a team environment.”

Peix said the Sacramento Artists Council was selected as the beneficiary because he likes what it is doing with kids.

“Look at the schools – art and sports are the first things they are cutting,” he said.

Peix said culinary offerings will include chicken legs cooked in a smoker, beef brisket and potato salad, all at an affordable price – something that was very important to him.

“Give people a good experience and they’ll come back,” Peix said,

Tickets are available here. Beer and chili tastings are $36.50 pre-sale, or $40 at the door. Chili tastings alone are $15.75 pre-sale, or $20 at the door. Tickets for children age 12 and younger are free.  

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