Memorial Park to see Concerts in the Park finale and salmon barbecue competition this weekend

The two-day finale of Concerts in the Park comes alongside the Salmon BBQ Competition on Saturday.

Clockwise from bottom left: Corey Campbell participates in last year’s Salmon BBQ Competition. The Star Captains

Clockwise from bottom left: Corey Campbell participates in last year’s Salmon BBQ Competition. The Star Captains

This weekend, Memorial Park will host two, quintessentially summer, events.

Organizers of the Great Fraser River Salmon BBQ Competition and the Concerts in the Park finale promise a weekend full of al fresco entertainment events.

Most notably, the CITP finale will run on Saturday and Sunday, with multiple performances each day.

“There’s a pretty awesome lineup,” said CITP organizer Dani Vachon. “Two things that are significantly different from the Concerts in the Park series, one is that there is more than one performer per day, and there’s children’s activities.”

CITP starts at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday with a magician show. The weekend will see local musicians including Ashley Pater, a 13-year-old singer-songwriter from Sunshine Valley, and Dominic Palladino, a rock cover musician from Hope.

The finale will also see Vancouver artists Star Captains and The Prettys perform starting at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Alongside these performances, on Saturday only, various teams from the region will be preparing the best salmon they can barbecue and smoke.

The Salmon BBQ Competition will start at 8 a.m. with setup. Teams will have to prepare their salmon for judging at the 12:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. The first time slot is for barbecued salmon and the second is for smoked salmon.

“Barbecued salmon, they’re often using more sauces, that sort of thing. But hot smoke, you’re using just the smoke and then often it will be more spices, the different types of smokes you put on it,” said competition co-organizer Donald Stokes.

“For most people, it will be the largest, best selection of salmon they’ll ever have in their lives — ever,” said Stokes.

Chawathil First Nation will open the competition at 11 a.m. with drumming, history, a welcome to their territory and end with a blessing and prayer.

As of last Friday, Stokes said that eight to 10 teams have signed up, the furthest being from Vancouver.

“Interest is great,” said Stokes. “Oh my gosh, we got people expressing interest from Oregon, Washington state.

“I don’t want to settle at eight. I want it higher, but just unfortunately this year, a couple of teams that were there last year — the most dedicated supporters — happen to be at a wedding.”

Spectators can also buy $2 vouchers to try out the salmon, and they can participate in the people’s choice part of the competition.

“You can try however many or few you choose. You can vote as you see fit,” said Stokes.

Judges will also decide which team has cooked up the best salmon. Based on 100 points, 50 points goes towards taste, 25 for texture and 25 for appearance.

They will most likely serve up coho salmon.

“Coho is more bang for the buck,” said Stokes.

Beyond the weekend, Vachon also wants people to participate in the Concerts in the Park photo contest.

“Basically, we’re trying to encourage people to post their photos to social media,” said Vachon. “It’s a Facebook contest, so people have to take a photo of at least the artist, or someone in the audience, so we can be sure that it’s taken at Concerts in the Park.”

Vachon said people should post that publicly, using the hashtag #CITPphotos2016.

Entries will be judged by two local, professional photographers, Hilary Patterson and Justin Brown, and the number of Facebook likes that photo gets.

Prizes are $50 in cash and another $50 in 293 Wallace Street Restaurant vouchers.

Hope Mountain Market will be at this weekend’s events, as well as Potter’s in the Park.

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