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Annual chili cookoff seeks chefs

On Feb. 7 from 6-8 p.m., the Essen Haus, 514 E. Wilson St., will host its second annual Mad City Chili Cookoff.

As many as 20 cooks may enter for the chance to win cash prizes. Organizers said smell, taste, heat balance, texture/mouthfeel and appearance are among this year's judging criteria.

Up to $200 will be awarded to both the judge's top pick and to the people's choice award.

A chili recipe and $20 are needed to enter the competition.

If you would like to enter the contest, email chili.essenhaus@gmail.com.

Entry fee to the event is $10 for adults and free for children ages 10 and under.

Click here for complete details.

$78K in grant funding goes toward creative, innovative projects

$78K in grant funding goes toward creative, innovative projects

Grant funding to support creative and innovative projects not funded within the core school budget was approved for 49 Madison schools Tuesday, according to a release.

The Foundation for Madison?s Public Schools approved $78,290 for the grants, officials said. The grants are part of the Foundation?s School Endowment initiative, which is the first of its kind in the country.

?As budgets continue to tighten, the foundation?s role and our community?s support of public education are becoming increasingly important,? FMPS Executive Director Stephanie Hayden said. ?These grants provide the tools and support to enrich education opportunities for the more than 27,000 Madison public school students.?

Enjoy family fun at the Downtown Madison Family Halloween party

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, the city of Madison will be hosting a Halloween party for families to enjoy.

The party goes from 3-6 p.m. at the corner of State St. and the Capitol Square.

There are many free and low cost activities for families and kids 12 and under to get involved with. Some include magic shows, hayrides, crafts, spooky stories, art projects, festive Halloween photos, kids' musical theater, trick or treat at participating businesses and more!

You can pick up a full list of activities and trick or treating locations on Oct. 29 at the Downtown Visitor Center, 452 State St.

Don't forget to show off your spooky costumes at the party as well!

Downtown Halloween fun continues through that week with additional programs at the Wisconsin Historical Museum and Madison Children's Museum. Visit the downtown Madison website for links and information.

Most municipalities set Halloween trick-or-treating hours

Most municipalities set Halloween trick-or-treating hours

When will the ghosts and goblins be out?

Find below a list of the trick or treating hours for communities in southern Wisconsin:

Oct. 31

2014 Halloween event at zoo features costume contest

2014 Halloween event at zoo features costume contest

A free costume contest is just one event at a Halloween celebration at Henry Vilas Zoo next weekend.

Halloween at the Zoo is a free event to the public with a suggested donation of $2, and features free trick-or-treating and an activity tent, according to a release.

There will be five categories for the costume contest and the top three contestants will win prizes. The contest will be from 11 a.m. to noon in the center of the zoo. To enter the costume contest, participants will need to go to the costume contest stage across from the seals and fill out an entry form.

Organizers said the contest will end promptly at noon, but they will accept as many entries as they can. Participants will be judged on creativity, originality and authenticity.

The winners will be announced at 12:30 p.m. at the costume contest stage.

Costume contest prizes:

West side dog park opens with official 'ball toss'

West side dog park opens with official 'ball toss'

West side residents have a new place to play with their pups.

Walnut Grove Park officially opened Monday afternoon with an opening ball toss ceremony. The park at 202 N. Westfield Road is the eighth Dane County dog park. 

Madison Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp said buying a pass for the park extends throughout the county.