Chili cook-offs are definitely hot stuff. Especially when the spicy delicacy is being prepared by young Mitchell Feaga. Mitchell, a sixth-grader at Glenwood Middle School, is just one of dozens of chili afficionados who will participate in "Hotter Than Thou," March 11 at 1:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 9325 Presbyterian Circle in Columbia (the southeast corner of routes 29 and 108).

Mitchell, a culinary enthusiast who won the first chili contest round at his church — Lisbon United Methodist — where his prize-winning chili trumped the entries of seven adult church members. As the chili champ of Lisbon, Mitchell is headed to First Presbyterian where he will compete with chili chefs from seven other local churches.

The yummy and spicy chili contest is being held as a fundraiser for Bridges to Housing Stability. Each competing chef will have a tip jar and the chef who earns the most tips wins the contest. All the tips and winning are being donated to the Bridges to Housing Stability organization. If you love chili and wish to support Mitchell's competition, knowing your tip donation will head to a good cause, then come out March 11 for some tasty cooking.

Glenelg Country School junior Shelby Marcelli has organized a fundraiser to benefit Veterans Moving Forward. The event, a balloon bursting raffle affair, is set for Friday, March 2 at the school.

Veterans Moving Forward is the only veteran-centric not-for-profit foundation, which provides trained service dogs to veterans with physical and mental health challenges.

"We are extremely thankful for the support the students of Glenelg Country School, and particularly Shelby Marcelli, have shown by organizing this fundraising event," Veterans Moving Forward Executive Director Karen Jeffries stated.

Shelby got involved in this program because "my father is a veteran and I have spent a time at Bethesda Naval Hospital seeing the veterans come home from war. I wanted to get involved and help them as much as they have helped our country."

If you would like to participate by purchasing a raffle ticket to burst a balloon which has a prize associated with it, call Ed Conroy at 410-531-8600 or e-mail Ed at econroy@glenelg.org.

Glenelg High School Key Club president Emily Schweich shared an astounding statistic with me: One pint of blood saves three lives. This awareness came to Emily during the Key Club's recent blood drive at Glenelg High.

On Feb. 29, club members assisted Red Cross professionals during a blood drive sponsored by the Key Club. The service organization has long been on the forefront of community action. During February, Glenelg High Key Club members raised more than $500 for the Heifer International Organization.

In the fall of 2011, members raised money for UNICEF. During the winter holidays the club membership, which has grown to a substantial 68 members, participated in a mailing of gifts for the troops and their families. Emily and the club also utilized Glenelg High School as a receiving venue for the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program. Active and positive with community spirit galore. That's the Glenelg High School Key Club.

This is the time of year when I begin promoting area high school musicals. I have often remarked that our local high school drama and music departments are nothing short of sensational.

Glenelg Country School kicks off the musical theater season with a much beloved classic "Pippin." The original Broadway production of "Pippin" included Ben Vereen and Jill Clayburgh. The beloved opening song of "Magic to Do" remains as stirring and life affirming today as it did in 1972 when audiences were first dazzled by the lively spectacle on Broadway.

The premise of this show is the young Pippin, son of Charlemagne, who is on a journey to find meaning and significance. The role of Pippin will be performed by Cappie award winner and Glenelg Country senior Brian Hoyson. The energetic show is filled with great music, dancing, ensemble pieces and is a family friendly event.

The show will be performed in the Mulitz Theater on the campus of Glenelg Country School March 7-10 at 7 p.m. with an additional matinee performance March 10 at 2 p.m. The school is at 12793 Folly Quarter Road, in Ellicott City.

The Peak Auction Co. had me at "Everything you could want to build or rehab your home or rental." Everything I could want? If you've got renovation on your mind, come out to the Howard County fairgrounds in West Friendship Saturday, March 3 at 9 a.m. for a new building materials auction. A preview of the items for auction will be available for perusal Friday, March 2 from noon to 6 p.m.

Peak Auctions has been holding this home building event in West Friendship for close to two decades. More information on this particular sale is available by visiting the website at http://www.peakauction.com.

Not to be missed if you are a fan of bargains. The fourth annual Marriotts Ridge High School Mustang Flea Market is in full gear. The sale which benefits the vocal and instrumental music programs is often nicknamed "too big to be called a yard sale."

The large-scale indoor flea market is set for Saturday, March 3 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Rain or shine, the sale will be brimming with table tops loaded with household and sporting goods, electronics, baby items, clothing, collectibles, tools, toys, seasonal items and all the goodies one associates with a big old flea market.

The sale is a cash only affair. Questions? Email Kathy Wehr at mustangfleamarket@gmail.com. Marriotts Ridge High School is at 12100 Woodford Drive in Marriottsville.

This time of year is just right for observing the beauty of the birds in our region. And for Kate Tufts, who is an avowed bird enthusiast, this is a great time for kids in the community to show off their artistic prowess by entering the Howard County Bird Club's third annual Student Birding Art Contest.

The art contest is open to Howard County students ages 9-13. Prizes include backpack containing a pair of Eagle Optics binoculars and field guides. If you would like to draw or paint your favorite Maryland bird, then go to the club website at http://www.howardbirds.org and follow the cues to the contest rules and entry forms. Entries will be accepted until May 31.