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Throw away your cholesterol counters and get your forks ready for the Fifth Annual Chaffee County Mac & Cheese Bake-off on Wednesday, July 25, to benefit Chaffee County Habitat for Humanity. The event, hosted at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Pavilion, is presented by TBK Bank.


All proceeds from this event will benefit Chaffee County Habitat for Humanity’s effort to raise awareness of the community’s need for affordable housing. “Our focus is not simply the construction of homes but also the empowerment of families in Chaffee County,” according to the Habitat for Humanity website.


Individuals, church groups, businesses and restaurants can sign up to supply their best macaroni and cheese dishes, and then attendees are invited to “vote” on their favorite dishes. Salad and dessert will be provided and a cash bar will be available.


Last year saw a record turnout of culinary entries. The big question this year is, will Jennifer Garcia, winner for the past two years, come back to defend her title? She won last year’s $70 award with her green chili mac and cheese, which she said she gets compliments on “all the time.”


Garcia, her husband and their three boys are an example of the county’s housing shortage. When she won the award last year she said, “I’m so thrilled to win this, it means a lot … but oh, I wish for a home. Living in such a small space – we’ve been up by Four Mile for three years – is so hard when you have growing boys. We’re trying so hard, and we’re willing to work.”


The bake-off and silent auction will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m., with prizes and winners announced at 7:30 p.m. Adult tickets for the event are $10 in advance and $15 at the door; tickets for children ages 12 and younger are $5.


This year’s event will also feature live music by Salida-based performers Susan and Bill Roser, known as the Bent Roses, who perform a wide variety of hits and standards from every decade from the 1920s to the 2010s.