By CHERIL VERNON
PALESTINE — It's been a tradition for more than 50 years.
St. Philip's Episcopal Church Women are making final preparations for their 53rd annual Chili Fiesta, which will be held this Tuesday.
The first “Fiesta” was held in 1961 and served 200 people at 50 cents per ticket. Since that time, approximately 1,000 people have been served at each fiesta with ticket prices that reflected the prevailing economic environment.
Continuing the theme of the original fiesta, the Tuesday event will feature the original 1961 recipe chili with accompanying condiments, drinks and pie. The noon meal will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the evening meal will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., both in the St. Philip's Parish Hall. Both dine in and take-out meals are available at both times.
“We encourage the community to come out and enjoy the chili and the fellowship that have been a St. Philip's tradition for 53 years. Old recipes and old friends make for a great reason to celebrate together,” ECW spokeswoman Linda Walton said. “We are grateful for the community's support and look forward to many more years of serving some of the best chili and 'fixin's in the entire state.”
The first fiesta was an outgrowth of an idea that was promulgated by the Church Women’s Ways and Means Committee as a way to raise funds for community outreach and missions.
The original chili recipe was provided by the late Lib Fish, mother of Ann Welty and mother-in-law of St. Philip’s rector, the Rev. Ted Welty. Church and community leaders whose names are still familiar today worked diligently to make the first fiesta successful. Many of today’s members of the Church Women of St. Philip’s claim share family ties or history with the original fiesta planners.
As in the past, the funds that are raised by the fiesta are used for community outreach, missions and other church programs. Past recipients of support from the Episcopal Church Women are the Crisis Center, the Anderson County Rainbow Room, local food banks, Samaritan’s Purse Shoe Box Ministry and Funds for the Poor.
Tickets for the fiesta are $7 per person. Tickets are available at the door, by contacting the church office 903-729-4214 or from any member of Episcopal Church Women of St. Philip’s.