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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The 11th annual Chili Bowl Bash is back this Saturday with a slight twist.
This year, potters and chili connoisseurs will still be able to enjoy the bowls; they’ll just be empty.
Sabrina Trobak, the fundraising coordinator with the North Peace Potters’ Guild, explains what this year’s edition will look like.
“You buy the tickets online, but we’re actually going to have the chili bowls down at the studio on Saturday, and people will be given a time slot to come and have a hands-on look at the bowls. You can pick them up, feel the weight of them, the colours, and all that kind of stuff in person,” says Trobak.
Last year’s event was fully virtual, and, understandably, there were fewer tickets purchased than most years. With strict COVID-19 restrictions on gathering, it would have been impossible to do the event with the chili tasting and the bowl selection.
“Most years we sell out, I think we do about 100 or 125 tickets, but last year we didn’t sell as many. I think we sold about 50 or 60, and that’s still good because this is one of the biggest fundraisers for the organization.”
The bowls are all one-of-a-kind, and Trobak says some people come back year after year to build up a set of similarly themed eclectic bowls.
“It’s art, right? So it really is kind of each person’s artistic desire. We see bowls go to people year after where they’re collecting a certain theme, and other people just randomly fall in love with one, and that’s it.”
Trobak says the bowls, like the perfect chili, are all about personal preference.
“I like mine kind of warm, but not too hot for sure, and a variety of ingredients in it.”
The chili bowls are made by more than 55 members of the North Peace Potters’ Guild. Each member is asked to make three to five bowls to make sure there is a good variety to choose from.
“I think right now, we are already at about seven tables that have been fired and ready to go. We’re going to be doing our last firing for the last set on Tuesday, so we’ll probably be close to 100 or so by the time all the bowls are done.”
The process to make a bowl can take weeks.
“You have to make it, then let it dry, then you have to bisque fire it, then glaze it, then do a glaze fire. A bowl can easily take two to three weeks from start to finish by the time you’re done all the drying and the kiln firing.”
Trobak says in past years, people had started to line up as much as an hour before the doors opened to get first looks at the bowls. This year, there will be a staggered entry based on the order of people who bought tickets.
“We’ll send everybody their time slot, so they can come in for their 15-minute opening. With today’s announcement, stay tuned because we may have it more open at the end, depending on how many tickets we sell.”
Tickets are now on sale. Email [email protected] to get purchasing instructions. The event will be on Saturday, June 19th.
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