Sunday's freezing cold was perfect weather for soup and the Soup-er Bowl at Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron. It drew several hundred hardy people who warmed up with hot soup from area restaurants.
Nicole Read of Akron's Community Events office chaired the fundraiser for the United Way of Summit County. Cindy Hartline and Sarah Scovall greeted guests and explained how they could vote for their favorite soup.
United Way President Bob Kulinski prepared his special ''Dragon Breath Chili'' for the event. Sandy Auburn sampled Chin's Hot'n Sour Soup, while her husband, Mark, liked the chicken pot-pie soup from Ido Bar & Grill. Aladdin's Eatery offered nine different vegetables in its V9 soup, while the Barley House brought its traditional favorite, chicken noodle soup.
The Diamond Deli served wild rice, corn and sausage soup; Ivan's, chili and mushroom barley soup; Kevin O'Bryan's, twice-baked potato soup; and the Lockview Restaurant, Italian wedding soup. Mike Gaffney recommended Panera Bread's cheddar broccoli soup, which was served in a sourdough roll.
Soup samplers included Steve and Carmie Smith, Pauline Persons, Jim and Hazel Dunderdale, Vernon and Barbara Sykes, and Katie Rennard.
Thomas Glen Hoffman, 2, enjoyed the event with his grandparents, Glen and Joellen Hoffman, and his aunt, Elizabeth Hoffman.
Adrienne Griffith braved the cold for a few spins on the outdoor ice rink. Mike Caprez said the rink will be open today for skating and then Thursday through Sunday until Feb. 3, with a Broomball Extravaganza at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tracie and Jerry D'Antonio brought their nephew, Alex, and nieces, Amanda and Noelle Smigel to sample soup and visit the adjacent Marble Museum. Joyce Lagios invited everyone to try their luck at the WQMX prize booth. Barb Stewart gave the wheel a spin and won a beach bag; Billy David, a piggy bank for his grandson. It was a lucky day for Cheryl and Bryce Williams, each of whom won twice. Jen Blatt and Dina Younis distributed prizes.