By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Friends and family of the late Garrett James O’Neil have created a unique event dedicated in his memory.
On Sunday, Dec. 3, the “Epic Beard Contest & Chili Cook-Off”, will honor the three things the 22-year-old loved most in his life — “epic” beards, kindness, and his mother’s chili. O’Neil unexpectedly passed away on July 6 from respiratory arrest, and those who knew him want to honor him by giving back to local charities.
“He was an incredible young man with a huge heart,” said Garrett’s mother, Karmen Kelly. “He was known for his great sense of humor, his love for his friends and family, and for always helping anyone in need.”
Hosted at Layla’s Pub, 2962 WI-73, the Epic Beard Contest will have a $5 entry fee with half of the proceeds to go to St. Jude’s Hospital. According to Kelly, the raffle tickets used at the event will also be used to cast votes for the contest and draw additional prizes.
“The contest is open to anyone and anything goes — within reason,” said Kelly. “Real beards, fake beards, homemade macaroni beards, etc. Have fun and be creative.”
In addition, the chili cook-off will take place all day, with interested participants encouraged to bring their best chili to Layla’s between 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Attendees will get to try the chili while the Packers game is put on inside — the chili with the most votes will win.
Last, but not least, the event will collect toys for Toys for Tots. A new unwrapped toy will get an attendee five raffle tickets.
“We know that our first Christmas without Garrett will be very difficult, so we’re taking this opportunity to turn our grief to giving,” said Kelly. “Help us brighten the holidays for children who are dealing with difficulties of their own.”
For more information on the event, check out https://www.facebook.com/events/302552576818315/