The second annual Lt. Jim Pagano Cranston Firefighters’ chili cook off held on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Blue Moon Pub on Park Avenue was a resounding success. The weather was perfect, the guests were treated to top-notch chili and DJ Cush entertained the crowd all afternoon. The event was a total sell out of all 400 tickets.
According to Lisa Pagano, President of the Pagano Foundation and Jim’s sister, the day was amazing. “It was a great showing. Everyone came out, all of our friends, the community, we all had a wonderful day,” she said. In fact, the event was so successful, that by four o’clock that afternoon, they had completely run out of chili.
A true foodie, Mayor Allan Fung enjoyed sampling all the fare. “It was impossible to pick a favorite chili since all were good and offered a unique take. I did find a new nuance for my favorite cornbread—Station 5 added cake mix. Everything was delicious and I’m glad our firefighters came together for a great cause and to remember one of our own,” he said.
Reclaiming his bragging rights for another year, Station 2 won with chili cooked by Bob Nyzio. Runners up were Butch Giguere and Steve Burgess from Station 5. There were over 160 votes cast for all six stations.
“None of this would have been possible without the tremendous help and support of our sponsors and partners. We teamed this year with the Cranston Local IAFF 1363, Blue Moon Pub, Cranston Herald, Dave's Marketplace and BORI Graphix. Stop & Shop provided a gift card for each station to buy ingredients,” said Pagano.
At the end of the day, the event raised over $5,400. “We use the money raised for the LJP Foundation that grants funding for Cranston kids in k-12 in the areas of academic scholarships, athletics, arts programs and wellness,” said Pagano.
An added, unexpected moment happened when reigning champ, Bob Nyzio took to the microphone to serenade the guests with “We Are the Champions.”
Citywide Councilman and Council President Mike Farina was there with his family. Though they couldn’t all agree on a chili they liked they all agreed on the event being a success. “The community came out to support a great event and a great cause. The Pagano Foundation does great work all over our city for all our kids. It is a wonderful organization,” he said.
Taking a break from the event, Pagano looked around the crowds, the families, friends and attendees and she sighed and smiled. “I couldn’t be any happier,” she said.