Chili for Conservation Chili Cookoff, Swan Fest to be held at wildlife refuge

Press Staff Writer

        It promises to be a hot time as Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge present a Chili Cookoff Saturday, Feb. 17 from 12-3 p.m. The free, family-friendly competition is open to the public.
        To enter a favorite recipe in the competition, area residents may bring a crockpot of chili at noon to the Visitor Center at the refuge, located at14000 SR 2, Oak Harbor.
        The judges’ tasting will begin at 1 p.m. with public tasting to follow. Awards will include the Judges’ Choice Golden Ladle Award, the 4-Alarm (hottest chili) Award, the Most Unique Award and the People’s Choice Award.                Donations collected during the event will help fund projects around Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and support future events and tours that are open to the public.
        Swan Fest
        The Chili Cookoff will be held in conjunction with the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Swan Fest, which runs from Saturday, Feb. 17 to Sunday, Feb. 18. The celebration of swans will feature educational activities, games and crafts at the Visitor Center and opportunities to view swans along the hiking trails and the Wildlife Drive. The Visitor Center will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with activities planned throughout the day.
        The Wildlife Drive, scheduled to be open both days, weather permitting, is a seven-mile self-guided route which takes visitors through the woodland, wetland and prairie habitats of the refuge. The one-way route, which begins in the back of the Visitor Center parking lot, is open from sunrise to one hour before sunset.
        Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is a 501(c)3 non-profit established in 1997 to promote the preservation of the natural and historical resources of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.
        For more information about the refuge and the Friends, visit


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