‘Best in Paradise’ raises $10,000 for Northern Illinois Food Bank
From press release
More than 1,500 people joined in to help their hungry neighbors and support the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) at the Fifth Annual “Best in Paradise” event Saturday, June 19, at the Lombardi Club in Rockford. This year, $10,000 will be donated to the NIFB, doubling the amount from last year.
The event included best cheeseburger and best margarita contests, music by Tony Amber and Pirates Over 40, cheeseburger and margarita samplings, and raffles.
Julie Christian, event committee member, said: “We tripled the attendance and doubled the money. The NIFB provides so many services to so many people, I think people were happy to help and have fun at the same time. We have some kinks to work out since this was our first year at the Lombardi, but this venue could not be more perfect, and we could not have asked for a more gracious host. Thanks to our sponsors, teams and volunteers, this year was incredible!”
Hunger is exploding in northern Illinois, with recent data showing 35 percent more people using the food pantries and soup kitchens in the area.
Committee member Reggie Roberson said: “For each dollar, 8 pounds of food is distributed. That means 80,000 pounds of food will be available to our communities, just from this event.”
“Best in Paradise” cheeseburger contest winners were as follows:
First place—Mike’s Mobile Diner, “Mike’s Bodacious Burger”
Second place—The 4 Amigos, “The Rattlesnake”
Third place—Lombardi Party Pirates, “Paradise Chile Cheeseburger”
“Best of Show”—The 4 Amigos, “The Rattlesnake”
People’s Choice—Infusion Confusion, “The Infused Havarti Mouth Party”
Other cheeseburger competitors included The Jerky Brothers, “Island Breezy Cheesy Jamaican Jerk Burger”; The Texicans, “The Texican Burger”; Neighbors, “The Angry Angus”; The Robin’s Nest Chicks, “Eutopia”; and Tad’s On the Rock, “Tad Burger.”
Burger judges were Rich from Backyard Grill & Bar, Aaron Wilson and Mark Henderson from WIFR-23, and Jason Dawbin from the Rockford IceHogs.
“Best in Paradise” margarita contest winners were as follows:
First place—Fiesta Cantina In Paradise, “El Diablo Margarita”
Second place—Agave Cartel, “Ay! Chihuaha!”
Third place—Northern Illinois Parrothead Club, “Beer Margarita”
“Best of Show”—Northern Illinois Parrothead Club, “Beer Margarita”
People’s Choice—Neighbor’s Brew Team, “The Neighbor’s Sly Brew”
Other margarita competitors included Quatro Drakes, “Margarita Smile”; Peace, Love and Margaritas, “Little T’s; and Infusion Confusion, “Infusion Solution Margarita.”
Margarita judges were Georgette Braun, Brizz from 96.7 the Eagle, Sarah Slavenas from NIFB, and Andy B from the Lombardi Club.
The first-place cheeseburger team won $500 and the first-place margarita team won $250. The cost to enter was $100 for a cheeseburger team and $50 for a margarita team.
Best in Paradise committee members included Jenny Caizzo, Brad Christian, Julie Christian, Karissa Erickson, Diane Govig, Michelle Hoshaw, Sherry Presson, Reggie Roberson and Brad Stallings.
“Best in Paradise” is a way to bring hunger issues to the attention of the public while supplying funds for the programs of NIFB. For more information about NIFB, visit northernilfoodbank.org.
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