By Patrick Szabo

Hundreds of residents spent a rainy Saturday at Old Ox Brewery taste testing chili from 11 area restaurants and donating money to support the Ashburn Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department.

It was the Ashburn brewery’s sixth annual Chilly Days Chili Fundraiser, which solicited money for the volunteers in the forms of donations from individuals and $1 from Old Ox for every pint and four-pack it sold of its War Wagon Mexican Lager. At the end of the day, Lost Fox Hideaway’s chili took home the Judges’ Choice trophy, while DC Prime took home the People’s Choice trophy.

Judging the chilis were NBC4 Meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts and NBC4 Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss, and Ashburn Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department Fire Chief Miguel Quijano.

Participating restaurants included The Bungalow, b One Loudoun, City Tap House, Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm, DC Prime, Ford’s Fish Shack, Lansdowne Resort, Lost Fox, Matchbox, ResQ BBQ and The Zone.

The event raised $18,000 for the volunteers.

The Ashburn Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department operates two stations—Station 6 in Ashburn and Station 22 in Landsdowne. While only 56 percent of the department’s operating budget is supported by state and county funding, it’s up to the volunteers to raise the rest.

Residents interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer firefighter, EMT or administrative member for the department can attend a Volunteer Interest Meeting from 7-9 p.m. next Tuesday, Jan. 28 at the Ashburn station.