Brant Fest opens this week

Festival to celebrate a little black goose kicks off March 29

Local youth painted Brant geese at Rathtrevor Park’s Kids Nature Camp

Local youth painted Brant geese at Rathtrevor Park’s Kids Nature Camp

Brant geese have been feasting on the beaches of Oceanside for a few weeks already and now its time for nature lovers to do some of their own feasting as some local chefs present some tasty treats at the Brant Festival opening night on Thurs., March 29. The little black geese that create a lot of excitement every spring in these parts will be celebrated in a big way Thursday night for the official kick off of the 2012 Brant Festival. The reception is being held at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre (PCCC) from 6 to 9 p.m. and will feature food stations by some top chefs, local food producers, displays, live music and a live and silent auction.

This years festival runs March 29 to April 10 with many activities lined up that range from the opening night kickoff to wildlife tours to an eagle release.

Organizers are putting the final touches on the party that celebrates the Pacific Black Brant and the itinerary for the evening will have something for everyone.

Carrie Powell-Davison who is Parksville’s council liaison to Brant Festival said many groups and organizations have come together for the festival this year and she is anticipating a great event.

“I am excited about the collaboration. There is so much that we can celebrate for this annual spectacle.  Not many communities have what we have,” she stated.

Powell-Davidson is organizing the food and beverage aspect of the opening night party and said she thinks the brantini luge will be a big hit.  The martini libation which will be poured through an ice carving of a brant is made with Grey Goose vodka, Sour Puss raspberry liqueur, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice garnished with frozen raspberries.

“We are hoping local bars will feature it during the festival.”

She said the food being prepared by some of the areas top chefs will be created with local ingredients.

John Lornie, head chef for The Old Dutch Inn will be preparing an appetizer that captures the spirit of of the festival.  His ceviche will be made with Qualicum Bay scallops and B.C. shrimp.

Not all ceviche is created equal.  Lornie said you need the freshest raw fish for a great ceviche which is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juice and spiced with chilli peppers.

“It’s a really flavorful dish with a kick.  I wanted to make something that people will remember,” he admitted.

He added that the dish will be on the new spring menu at the Qualicum Beach restaurant.

Other chefs preparing food for the evening include Tom King from the Bayside Bistro, George Dunning of the Galloping Gourmet Catering Company and Marieke Nijenhuis from Coastal Cake Company.

Little Qualicum Cheesworks will be serving some of their award winning cheeses and there will be a cash bar.

Aside from the food and drink there will be local artisans displaying and selling their work.

One of the artwork displays will include hand painted wooden Brant geese created by the young participants who attended the Kids Nature Camp at Rathtrevor Provincial Park over spring break.

Tickets for the event are $25 and are going fast.  They can be purchased from the Parksville and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce.