Sun, Fun and Kick-Ass Food! Gastown Knows How to Throw An End Of Summer Party!
“I can see you-
Your brown skin shinin’ in the sun
You got that hair slicked back and those Wayfarers on, baby
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of Gastown have gone”
– Gastown Busker
This Labour Day weekend in Gastown the clouds parted and the Wayfarers were on as a sun-bathed Carrall Street welcomed thousands of hungry, dancing, partying Vancouverites to the Second Annual BBQ & Chili Festival.
The Festival was a resounding success as festival goers enjoyed the hospitality and awesome food provided by local Gastown restaurants while raising money for underprivileged children in sports through Athletics 4 Kids.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a giant pig roast by Pekinpah restaurant. The wafting smoke attracted long lines but the tender pork and the pepper-infused bourbon sauce made waiting more than worthwhile.
And then there were the tastings. A new restaurant in the neighbourhood, TUC Craft Kitchen, made a huge impact with their wild boar chili and cherry soda brisket and won for Best Chili. Tuc was also named the new Grand Champion of the BBQ & Chili Festival. The Blarney Stone won the honors for Best Brisket and the Lamplighter Pub won for Best Ribs. Bismarck also beat everyone else with what had to be one of the best sides of corn on the cob ever.
Chef David Hawksworth, Chef Vikram Vij, Olympian Georgia Simmerling, Canuck Jason Garrison, and BC Lions teammates Angus Reid and Matthew Norman joined the celebrity judging panel along with the emcee Dawn Chubai of Breakfast Television and local broadcasting legend Joe Leary. The VIP’s joined in the fun by cheering on the competitors and eating until they could eat no more. BC Lion Mathew Norman even came in second in the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce Wing Eating Competition just behind the winner, Charles McCreath.
A party isn’t a party without music and this year it played a huge part in the weekend’s festivities. The bands included Mostly Marley, The Sheets, The Usual Suspects and East Vancouver’s up-and-coming band, The Boom Booms.
The Blarney Stone’s 4th annual Labour Day Luau on Sunday night closed the weekend off as host Todd Brisbin presented the awards and invited the exhausted staff and community partners to relax and unwind.
The boys and girls of Gastown will be back again next year with an even bigger and better Chili Festival.
As a sponsor and community partner of this year’s event, The Gastown Gazette would like to thank the judges and particularly the staff and volunteers who cleaned, hauled, moved, swept and sweated to make the weekend as much fun as possible.
A huge thank you to this years sponsors and organizers:
The Gastown BIA, staff and management of the Blarney Stone (Eddie, Marv, Charlie, Nick, Todd and others), all the participants (Cork & Fin, Hastings Warehouse, Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar, Bismarck, TUC Craft Kitchen, Steamworks Brewing Co., The Blarney Stone, Deacon’s Corner, The Charles Bar, The Lamplighter Pub, Pekinpah and Whet), craft beer suppliers (Parallel 49, Drftwood, Whistler, Steamworks, Hoyne, R&B, Shocktop, Russell, and Stanley Park), and sponsors (Shock Top, Blarney Stone, Cattlemen’s BBQ, French’s, Frank’s RedHot, Pepsi, Magners, Global TV, Smith Sound, the Gastown Gazette, the Georgia Straight and Bulleit Bourbon).
Thank you also to everyone who attended and helped make this a great weekend for Gastown!
See you next year!
Photos by Jeff Topham and The Gastown Gazette. Photo on the top by Steven Schwartz