Woo wins carving cup
Ice carvers and chili chefs vied for bragging rights on the streets of Qualicum Beach Saturday as the annual Fire and Ice Festival kicked.
Crowds flocked line up to give their opinion on the chili, judges eyed the icy works in progress to do the same for the ice carving in what has become one of the premier festivals of the year in Qualicum Beach.
Once the ice chips cleared and the last scrapings from the chili pots were assessed, it was Johnny Woo who took top place on the podium for his ice carving, followed by Peter Vogelaar in second and Chan Kiguri in third. Honour able mention went to Dlayne Corbett.
The highly coveted bragging rights for chili prowess once again went to the Parksville Qualicum Beach News team, who took first place in the amateur division, while Lefty’s won the people’s choice award. The Rod and Gun team were deemed the best professional chili team, while best presentation went to Tigh-Na-Mara.
Tasting chili and watching carvers, although central to the day, were not the only activities for the thousands who flocked to Second Avenue for the event. Music of various genres was performed on three stages around town and the youngest set was able to enjoy a children’s play area, hula-hoop demonstrations wowed the crowd and the Rainbow Stew Cloggers showed that when it comes to dancing, they know how to put on a show.
Co-chair Roger Griffiths said he was delighted with the festival this year.
“It seemed to be really good,” he said. “There was a good vibe on the street. The weather made a huge difference, but there seemed to be a lot of people and everybody I heard comment said it was really great.”
Griffiths said he was pleased that some of the smaller players in the chili cookoff were able to take home the top prize this year.
“There was some good chili and then there was some ‘Gosh, what’s this,”’ he said. “I was very pleased that the awards were spread around, that they didn’t just go to the big guys.”
The smaller cups for the chili tasting, he noted, led to fewer booths running out of chili early.
The ice carving portion of the event, he added, has come a long way and has led to Fire and Ice being a must-do for ice carvers across the region.
“We sold out all the spaces for the carvers,” Griffiths said. “They were signed up before last year. I think we have a good name with the carvers.”
One other encouraging aspect of this year’s festival, he said, was the number of young people who showed up.
“We had more young people than we’ve had in previous years, so that’s good,” he said. “The music seemed to go down quite well.”
And his favourite chili?
“I’ve been doing this for five years and I’ve never had a chance to taste any,” he said.