What do you get when fifteen TV and radio stations get together for a little friendly competition and a good cause? The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Cook-Off, of course!

May 7 dawned bright and warm, a perfect day for a fundraiser out on Georgia Street, a wide expanse in downtown Indianapolis with patio seating, piped in music and plenty of room for big events that attract thousands. The Salvation Army took over a block-long stretch of the street, setting up tents, firing up grills and setting the stage for a fantastic event.

Each media partner assembled a team of on-air talent and created a delicious burger recipe to sell at the Red Kettle Cook-Off. Two prizes were up for grabs: the “Checkered Spatula,” awarded for most burgers sold, and the “Best Burger Award,” which was judged by local food critics. Media buzz started early, with plenty of banter between our celebrity chefs on Twitter. Each station was also working to get a head start by raising “seed money” through online donations in the days leading up to May 7.

The crowds came to the Red Kettle Cook-Off for the burgers, but stayed for the festive atmosphere and a chance to meet their favorite local media personalities. Costumed mascots from IUPUI and the Indianapolis Colts entertained the crowd, while the Pacers Fan Van and Colts IN Motion Trailer were on Georgia Street to give fans an inside look at the city’s professional sports teams. Even the Indianapolis Motor Speedway joined the party, bringing a street legal two-seater race car for free rides around downtown Indy.

The stars of the show, though, were the burgers themselves. The menu included mouth-watering recipes like the Jamaican Sausage & Bacon Burger, the Hoosier Hu-la-lah Burger and the WFMS Wake-up Burger. All-American Picnic Company spent hours grilling burgers and bacon while the media teams worked the crowds, enticing them to choose their station’s burger and raising money to support The Salvation Army’s food and shelter programs in Central Indiana.

When the final bell rang, WISH-TV’s Bacon Bacon Burger came out on top, raising over $1,000 through sales and donations. The Best Burger Award went to WRTV-6’s Best of Both Burger, which featured a homemade mac ‘n’ cheese topping.

The Salvation Army was able to raise $21,775, a record amount for the Red Kettle Cook-Off. That roughly translates into 8,710 meals to feed hungry families or 871 nights of safe shelter. Events like this make it possible for The Salvation Army to help thousands of people in need in our own community. In 2013, The Salvation Army provided more than 522,000 meals and 106,000 nights of shelter.

Thank you to all the great Red Kettle Cook-Off sponsors, including All-American Picnic Company, Lumina Foundation, Kroger, Two Men and a Truck, Ricker’s, Indiana Pork Producers and Indiana Wesleyan University. All of our event participants – sponsors, celebrity chefs, entertainers, volunteers and guests – helped to make this the best Red Kettle Cook-Off Indianapolis has seen.

Let’s keep the momentum going! Together we can keep doing the most good in Central Indiana.


For more information about The Salvation Army Red Kettle Cook-Off and to see a complete menu from the event, visit the Red Kettle Cook-Off event page.