CLINTON — Local businesses prepared pasta for 200 people Monday for the first ever Mac-N-Cheese Bowl at Clinton Community College.
Diners voted for pastas in such categories as cheesiest, most original, creamiest and noodle-iest (is that a word?), while raising money for CCC B-rrry Scurry scholarship fund.
"We were originally going to do this on Wednesday," said Assistant to the President Ann Eisenman, but bad weather forced the college to cancel classes and postpone the pasta dinner. The carbs were supposed to prepare runners for their four-mile race Saturday and feed hungry students.
"Wednesday is usually the day we have a lot of students on campus," Eisenman said.
College employees, students and the public were invited to a meal with eight kinds of pasta, salad, bread and dessert, donated by Clinton businesses for a small fee that will be used for scholarships.
"We typically will give six to eight B-rrry Scurry scholarships each year," Eisenman said.
The winter run began in 1981 when some college employees decided to have a race to raise scholarship money. Though B-rrry Scurry announces who finished first, "It's really our students who are the winners," said Eisenman.
The campus started serving the pasta during lunch Monday, Eisenman said. Matt Endress, an adviser at the college, was back for seconds Monday afternoon.
Endress voted for his favorites during lunch.
"I think my favorite was the seafood one," he said. "Also the bacon ones were great."
Mike Bloomquist, records and registration specialist for CCC, is in his first year with the college. As a new hire, Bloomquist had to choose a committee to serve on.
"This one seemed like the one that did the most help for the community and was the most fun," Bloomquist said.
The committee sent letters to restaurants as far as the Quad-Cities and Dubuque, Bloomquist said, but this year the pasta was all from Clinton.
Businesses were "extremely willing to help," Bloomquist said. They brought pasta in their own roasters and chafing dishes, and businesses that didn't provide pasta donated bread, salad and dessert, he said.
Students purchased pasta alone for just $2 during lunch Monday, Bloomquist said. About 50 students took advantage of the deal.
Ryan Welch, a science instructor at CCC, ate pasta with sons Fin and Otis Monday afternoon.
"I liked the seafood," Ryan Welch said. "It was well-balanced."
Fin had a different favorite.
"I'd say either the bacon or the Chicken George," he said.
The boys enjoy pasta whenever they can get their parents to make it, they said.
"I like lasagna. I like spaghetti. I like mac and cheese," Otis said.
Library specialist Charlotte Darsidan sampled her eight pastas while visiting with the Welches. Her favorite mac-and-cheese dishes were the seafood, the bacon noodle and the Chicken George, she said.
But the company was the best part of the meal.
"I like visiting with small children," Darsidan said, "and these guys are pretty entertaining."