Grove City Record

18th Chilly Open returns to Columbus Zoo Feb. 1

Tickets are $45 and include free admission to the zoo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the event

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The Westerville Sunrise Rotary and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will embrace the winter weather next weekend during the 18th annual Chilly Open.

The event, a fundraiser for local children's charities, will be from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 1 at the zoo.

The Chilly Open, sponsored by Papa John's and Kroger, will feature food from more than 30 local restaurants, including Cantina Laredo, Dan's Deli, the Old Bag of Nails, the Spaghetti Warehouse, Bel Lago, Eddie Merlot's, Sandman Gourmet, City Barbecue, Tim Horton's, Gigi's Cupcakes, Watershed Distillery, the Winking Lizard Tavern, Anheuser Busch, Max and Erma's, Qdoba, Vanguard Wines, Sunny Street Cafe, Buffalo Wild Wings, Nicole's Cafe, Enticing Icing and the Polaris Grill.

As always, local band The Debits will provide entertainment, but this year, the band will be joined by country singer Keith Anderson. The Chilly Open will be hosted by WBNS 10TV's Dom Tiberi and WCOL-FM's Woody Johnson.

There will be a large indoor tent filled with silent auction items, including sports memorabilia, golf and vacation packages, among other things.

The Children's Open, for ages 5 to 12, will offer a variety of supervised activities that allow parents to enjoy the Chilly Open by themselves.

For no additional fee, the Children's Open provides indoor entertainment with live animal visits, face painting, crafts, miniature golfing, Wii games and bounce houses.

Those who purchase tickets to the Chilly Open, which are $45, receive free admission to the zoo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the day of the event. Children ages 12 and younger are admitted for free with a ticket holder.

In the past 17 years, the Chilly Open has raised more than $2 million for children's charities, making it the largest Rotary-run charity event in the country, according to Sunrise Rotary Club members.

Charities the event has benefited include the Children's Hunger Alliance, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Flying Horse Farms, the Ohio Troopers Coalition, the Westerville Area Resource Ministry, Buckeye Ranch, Nationwide Children's Hospital, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and the Ubumwe Community Center in Rwanda.

Because the event is organized and staffed by Rotary volunteers, 100 percent of the proceeds go toward charity.

For more information, or to purchase tickets in advance, visit chillyopen.org.

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