There was plenty of smoke coming from the Blount County Fire Hall in Walland on Saturday, Sept. 25, but nobody was in a hurry to put out fires. The firefighters were busy cooking as part of a Dutch oven competition.
There were seven teams preparing samples for the public. The event ended up raising almost $2,000 for the department’s Coats for the Community program.
During the competition, guests could pay a fee and sample from each team’s offerings. The guests were also judges, with each person getting five tickets they could place in the team buckets of their favorite Dutch oven dish.
First place got a 14-inch Dutch oven, second place got $100 and third place got a 10-inch Dutch oven, Chief Doug McClanahan said.
The winner was Terry Woods. Bob Perkins won second place and firefighter Jeff Mink won third. All of them were from Blount County, the chief said.
“It went well, better than we ever expected,” said McClanahan. “We estimated we had 500 or 600 people come through, and we fed about 200 people. We weren’t expecting that many,” he said.
McClanahan said he has $1,800 in hand and expects that after remaining tickets are turned in from the event, the department’s personnel will have raised more than $2,000 for Coats for the Community.
“We actually ran out of food, which we were very surprised about, and it was probably the biggest event we’ve had. Usually if you get 100 or 200 people through, you’re doing good, but it was a big, big crowd, and we were tickled,” he said.
McClanahan said all the money goes back into the program to buy coats for needy individuals in the community. “We tell everybody that the donation of a coat or even a penny to the program may help save a life because we get to talk to the recipients about putting up a smoke detector,” he said.
The chief said the firefighters’ next Coats for the Community fundraiser is an auction of yard sale items at 10 a.m. on Nov. 6 at Station 7 at 5156 Sevierville Road. Firefighters will pick up any yard-sale type donations. “All proceeds go to Coats for the Community. We will pick up any good used or new items for the auction,” McClanahan said.
Call 865-983-2133 for information or to donate.