CELORON - The line for a cup of Bill Blackwood's trademarked chicken wing soup was impressive. As was the case with Vicki McGraw and her roasted red pepper vegetable soup.
Then there was the southwestern white bean chili, cream of steak and potato and Reuben soup, all of which required curious taste buds and some patience to get a sample.
Hundreds turned out for the second annual SOUPer Bowl Sunday at the Celoron Legion, hosted by Media One Group and WCA Hospital. Homemade soups from 15 area restaurants and caterers lined tables inside Herman Kent Post 777 on Jackson Avenue.
Yvette Winans, right, receives a cup of soup Sunday at the Celoron Legion as part of the second annual SOUPer Bowl Sunday. Proceeds benefited the emergency department at WCA Hospital.
P-J photos by Eric Tichy
Amidst music from Razz & Friends and the dozen or so auctions was pot after pot of simmering soup, all surrounded by hungry patrons. Getting someone to say which one was their favorite, however, proved difficult.
"All the soups were great. It's hard to say which one was the best," said Lisa Calkin of Jamestown.
Added Yvette Winans, "They all look so good. You just want to try them all."
A winner eventually was crowned, with first place going to McGraw, owner and operator of Elegant Edibles.
Second place went to Phil-N-Cindy's Lunch and third place went to House of Petillo.
Proceeds from the event will be donated to the emergency department at WCA Hospital; the event last year yielded almost $4,000.
"I'm always impressed by the people in this community," said Karl Sisson, WCA Hospital development director. "You say it's to benefit something and people open up their checkbooks.
"People love the community, and this is definitely a community event that people love coming to."
Sisson said it was too early to determine how much was raised Sunday, but estimated proceeds around $5,000. He added that more than 340 people showed up, almost 100 more than last year.
"The quality of soup was excellent," Sisson said. "And the event was well received by everyone."
The most popular item among the savory options was chicken wing soup, offered by at least a half dozen restaurants and caterers. Blackwood, a Celoron Legion chef, wouldn't divulge the secret ingredient in his take on the popular dish. "Mine is the best. No one ever puts it together the right way," he said.
McGraw's version of the soup, however, earned her best in show.
Cindy Fedrick and Sam Bimber of Gametime Sports Bar and Grill had hoped to win best soup for the second year in a row. While unsuccessful this time around, both made sure to promote their business as much as possible.
"We want to let people know who we are and what we have to offer," Fedrick said. "This is the perfect opportunity to do that."