The Cause Behind Chilifest

By: John Mulvaney
By: John Mulvaney

It’s one of the most recognizable festivals in our region. People come from all over to enjoy all the sights and tastes of Chilifest, but there is a great cause behind every ladle full of chili.

Whether it’s for the chili in a bag, more spices than you can count, or even the Pepto-Bismol you have to carry on your hip, everyone seems to love chili-fest.

But there is a greater cause behind every cup served. And for Joe and Stacey Gribble, it hits close to home.

The Gribbles are from Parkersburg and their son Connor was born two months pre-mature. Weighing only two-and-a-half pounds, he needed to stay at the hospital. When their son needed them the most, they turned to the Ronald McDonald house.

“This was a real learning experience for us because we learned first-hand that the Ronald McDonald house is there for families that are in need and doing great things for people,” said Gribble.

They stayed at the Huntington house for two months.

All the proceeds from the chili go right to the Huntington Ronald McDonald house. And working for a good cause, is enough to make some people to sing.

“I think if my son could say anything right now, he would say thanks for having his parents at the hospital every single day,” said Gribble. “And that is because of the Ronald McDonald House.”

And someday he can say it. At 19-weeks old, Connor is now 11 pounds and just a few years away from his first cup of chili.

The Huntington Ronald McDonald house has provided a home away-from-home for more than six-thousand families in need since it was built.

The award for the hardest working group went to the folks from Fatboy's Chili, which means, of all the booths, they raised the most money for the Ronald McDonald House. Last year, Chilifest raised more than $30,000 dollars for the Ronald McDonald House.

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