Chili Cook-Offs and Car Shows and Food Drives, Oh My!

Summer is back. Long Island is back too. And what says Summer on Long Island like a parking lot party?

Held at IBEW Local Union 1049 in Holtsville, the one-part Chili Cook-Off, one-part car show, and above all, most parts Food Drive put on in conjunction with the Lighthouse Mission produced a strong turnout on Sunday, July 25. Though last year’s relocation to Secatogue Brewery in West Islip amid the pandemic was, all in all a considerable success, event organizer Jeff Seidler, 58, believes everyone involved benefited more so from the larger space IBEW provided (this year).

“Through word of mouth [too], you get a better showing; last year, we collected food. This year, we filled up an entire box truck. We had raffles. And quite a few local companies donated,” Seidler noted. Businesses that contributed include: Billet Technology, NoFo Rustik Flags, Local Burger Co., Chiddy’s Steaks, Destination Unknown Beer Co., Mach Speed, Top Level Detailing, The Boozy Cupcake Shop, NYTINTPROS, Secatogue Brewing Co., KOW Performance, IBEW Local 1049, Road Revival Auto Club, Texas Roadhouse and Cracker Barrel.

For the event, Mopar Misfits Long Island and Road Revival Auto Club also spearheaded their famous Car Show. While Jimmy Calderone Jr., 35, of Setauket won top prize at the event’s Chili Cook-Off, the first of any sort he’s ever attended. “[Going in] I wasn’t sure what I was up against,” Calderone revealed. “My recipe took a total of seven hours to cook, as the kicker ingredient was braised beef short ribs cooked in Guinness. I also made homemade scratch cornbread that really hit the spot.” Calderone added that he credits the victory to his wife, Paola Islas. “She was my sous chef and taste tester. I was also her personal dish dryer after making a mess of our kitchen.”

Good cars. Good chili. Good company. It’s no secret the Island wields a strong front consisting of devoted role players who routinely come together to raise funds and awareness for a myriad of causes. Citizens local to the hyper-involved areas outlined above, and those outside said districts looking to offer service beyond the confines of their own neighborhood ought to follow IBEW Local 1049 on Instagram. Post-COVID, it behooves the humbled population to see what’s next in store from the accurately self-proclaimed “community empowerers” who have done enough already, yet still strive to do more.

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Mike Reistetter, former Editor in Chief, is now a guest contributor to The Messenger Papers. Mike's current career in film production allows for his unique outlook on entertainment writing. Mike has won second place in "Best Editorials" at the New York Press Association 2022 Better Newspaper Contest.