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Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew

Cooking is a family affair
for Madison’s Schafer clan

They plan to compete again
at this year’s Oct. 15 festival


By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(October 2011) – Bill Schafer and his siblings share a common bond – they all want to do something in memory of a sister that passed away. They began a scholarship fund in her name and contribute to it every year at the Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew Festival, organized by the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce.

Schafer family

Photo courtesy of Jason Schafer

The 13 Schafer siblings get together
annually to participate in the Soup,
Stew, Chili & Brew event.

“It’s a fun family gathering for us,” said Schafer. His sister, Margie, was the 13th child in his family. “We wanted to start a scholarship in her name,” he said. The family also contributes to Relay for Life. “We take the proceeds from the Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew event and divide them between the scholarship and Relay for Life.”
Entering this event is a big family affair for the Schafers, who all chip in on cooking costs. “We have a good time doing it,” he said. “We see a lot of people, and my dad goes and samples the soup.”
The Schafers tend to take up a whole street corner with their booth and even have grandchildren participating in the event now. This is the only contest of this kind that they enter and Schafer said they may have 15 to 20 different kinds of soup available.
“There are so many of us that we may have a variety of soups like chicken noodle, white chili, clam chowder and potato.” In the past, one of his brothers has made turtle noodle soup and rabbit soup, just to offer something different.
Schafers’ son, Jason, said the festival “has turned into a big excuse to hold a family get-together. We’re all having fun and the grandkids have started to get involved. I even have an uncle coming down from Pennsylvania this year.”
The Schafer Family won third place for stew in 2010. They do not use any special recipes because they cook a variety of soups and stews.

Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew
Saturday, Oct. 15
from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Madison’s Main Street
Entertainment Schedule

11 a.m.: B.G. Johnson’s
Big Brass Band
Noon.: Dave Dwyer
1 p.m.: Rusty Bladen
2 p.m.: New Psalm
3 p.m.: Slick River Rockets

• Information: (812) 265-3135

The ninth annual Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, in downtown Madison, Ind., between Jefferson and West streets. The festival will feature celebrity judge Wayne Johnson, a Lifestyle Contributor at NBCUniversal.
“Proceeds from the entrants can be donated to the charity of their choice,” said Margo Watkins, Member Services Support Staff for the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber event is open to churches, nonprofits, civic organizations, local restaurants, firehouses and individuals.
There are four categories in the competition (soup, stew, chili, brew) with trophies going to first-, second- and third-place winners. Winners get “bragging rights” for their concoctions.
The public buys tickets to purchase a bowl of soup (three tickets) or sample a soup (one ticket). There is no admission charge – just a charge for tickets.
The Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew Festival was the “brainchild of Jeff Garrett who was the chamber’s executive director nine years ago,” said Watkins. At the time, the chamber was looking for an event that “would get people back on Main Street and support the merchants. The idea became very popular.”
Music will play all day and WORX radio station is sponsoring a cornhole competition. In the past, 3,500 to 3,700 have attended the festival, officials said. “We expect more this year because of the Steamboat Bicentennial Celebration,” said Watkins.
The Rivers Institute at Hanover College is planning the Steamboat Celebration and asked the chamber to move the festival up one week because of the increased number of people that will be in town.
Sponsors include Cinergy Metronet, IKEC, River Valley Financial Bank, The Waters of Clifty Falls, Chandler Chevrolet, KDH, Frontier Communications, Madison Winnelson, VISCO, and Jeff Frazier and family.

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