, Muskogee, OK


May 2, 2012

Cook-off benefits city three-fold

The Exchange Club’s Chili and Barbecue Cook-off benefits the city three-fold.

The 28th annual version drew record numbers, organizers say.

Approximately 20,000 people showed up to sample chili, brisket, hot links and chicken served up at nearly 100 booths.

“It was our biggest crowd and our biggest event,”  Cook-off coordinator Robert Smith said.

That is good for the city.

The Azalea Festival Parade and the Cook-off are the centerpieces of the biggest tourist weekend of the year for the city.

The parade winds in front of the Muskogee Civic Center as a natural precursor to the rest of the day’s events.

The Azalea Festival is the city’s biggest tourist attraction — a month-long celebration. The Festival brings tourists to town. Every citizen benefits from the tourism dollars brought to town.

As money is spent here, the sales tax receipts help fund city government.

The Cook-off, and the parade, also give residents another opportunity to get out and enjoy the city.

The two events pair up to create a higher quality of life here.

The Festival showpieces are not just for visitors.

The Exchange Club also uses the proceeds to fund their shoe and coat fund for local schoolchildren.

It is a benefit sorely needed in a city that has serious concerns with poverty.

The final totals from the event have not been announced, but any funds that go to help local residents is welcome and appreciated.

The event makes Muskogee a better place to live — three-fold.

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