Food & Drink

Warm up with High Country Auxiliary’s annual Chili Dinner

Bowl_of_chili_with_sour_cream_and_cheeseBy Jennifer Pund
Nothing says “winter warm-up” like a hearty bowl of chili with your neighbors. The High Country Auxiliary annual Chili Dinner and Silent Auction takes place Saturday March 7 from 5-8 p.m.

For only $8 for adults and $4 for kids under 12, three types of chili are offered: white chicken, red veggie and green. They are served with cornbread, cole slaw, cold drinks, and coffee. A chili toppings bar is included with all the fixins.

Last year, about 300 people attended and devoured pot after pot of homemade chili, with no leftovers. High Country Auxiliary Volunteer Diane Rittenhouse says the attendance is expected to be about the same, if not higher, this year. They are preparing just as much chili in anticipation of large crowds.

“We used to hold the chili dinner in Station 2, but we got so big, so crowded that we had to move to the Gilpin County Rec. Center about three years ago.” Rittenhouse said. The gym is divided in two sections. One half for the tables and chairs provided for seating to diners, the other half is dedicated to displaying silent auction items and bid sheets. As with all silent auctions, come early and stay late to get the item you treasure most.

The Silent Auction starts at 5 p.m. and ends promptly at 7 p.m. Items donated from business across the Peak to Peak are available to the highest bidder. Last year hundreds of items were donated like gift certificates, art work, cookbooks, quilts, hats, massages, dinners out, oil changes and a whole lot more.

Money raised by from annual Chili Dinner and Silent Auction is used to support the Timberline Fire Protection District and G.C.A.R.T, the Gilpin County Animal Response Team. “Most of the money we make is used to purchase items Timberline doesn’t have funds to buy,” said Rittenhouse. “We have purchased ATVs and other necessary equipment they wouldn’t otherwise have.”

The High Country Auxiliary is a support base of community volunteers who provide meals and other necessary services to assist the Timberline Fire Department when on fire calls. In order to do this, the group hosts several events each year for fund raising. Aside from the annual Chili Dinner and Silent Auction, the group hosts a flea Market in June and a pancake breakfast at the annual Gilpin County Fair.

Rittenhouse explained that the group decided to keep the “High County Auxiliary” name when Timberline Fire Protection District changed its name in order to provided a larger scope of assistance. “We kept the name so we are not limited to only serving the fire department, we also want to include Gilpin County Animal Response Team and the Gilpin Ambulance Authority,” said Rittenhouse.

Timberline Fire Protection District provides all hazard protection to both Gilpin and Boulder Counties. The district spans the Peak the Peak Highway between Black Hawk and Nederland providing services for over 173 square miles. The mission of TFPD is to utilize resources efficiently to provide emergency services for the benefit of citizens and visitors to the district while maintaining the safety and security of our members.

The G.C.A.R.T’s purpose is to care for the welfare of all domestic animals in emergency situations. They assist firefighters in the evacuation of large stock animals and smaller companion animals in the event of a wild fire, toxic spill or other natural or man-made disasters that may occur in Gilpin County.

The Gilpin County Recreation Center is located at 2960 Dory Hill Road north of Black Hawk. Contact Diane Rittenhouse at 303-582-5176 with questions about the High County Auxiliary. Learn more about Timberline Fire Protection District at

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