Gastown BBQ and Chili Festival fills 200 block of Carrall Street

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      The meat is on the grill and large crowds are in the street in the 200 block of Carrall Street for the Gastown BBQ and Chili Festival.

      The event continues today until 7 p.m. and resumes on Sunday (August 31) from noon to 7 p.m. in the same location, culminating in a performance by ambitious local prog rockers Bend Sinister on the outdoor stage.

      "Considering we had a little bit of rain this morning, I think the turnout has been absolutely fantastic," festival organizer Eddie Emerman told the Straight. "It just shows the resilience of the Vancouverites."

      With a crowd like this, just imagine how much chili was eaten.
      Charlie Smith

      Emerman, who's been jokingly referred to as the mayor of Gastown, is proprietor of the Blarney Stone in the 200 block of Carrall Street. It offers live music three to five times a week depending on the time of year. Bend Sinister will be inside the venue at 10 p.m. on Sunday following the outdoor show.

      Participating businesses in the festival include Calabash Bistro, Chill Winston Restaurant & Lounge, the Lamplighter, the Blarney Stone, Tuc Craft Kitchen, Railtown Cafe, Gringo, the Charles Bar, the Irish Heather Gastropub, Hastings Warehouse One Five Six, Deacon's Corner, Peckinpah, and Stateside Craft.

      Staff from Hastings Warehouse One Five Six enjoyed being outside.
      Charlie Smith

      Anyone who drops by for the daylong food fest can buy tokens, which can be exchanged for pulled pork, ribs, corn, coleslaw, or any of other tasty dishes being served along the street.

      Celebrity judges for the food competitions include former B.C. Lions football star Angus Reid, NHL defenceman Jason Garrison, and soccer player Jordan Harvey, among others.

      Proceeds from the event will go to Athletics for Kids, which gives children from poor families a chance to participate in amateur sports.

      The Charles Bar was serving up big slabs of meat.
      Charlie Smith
      The party continues in Gastown on Sunday.
      Charlie Smith