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Posted: May 12, 2009  21:47

Salsa Festival Spices up Downtown


Main Street was lined with a rainbow of merchandise, the lively beat of Frank and Sean Moore's fiddle tunes pumped up the atmosphere, and there was definitely the smell of spring in the air as the third annual Salsa Festival got into full swing on Saturday, May 2.

The beer garden offered refreshment to festival-goers.

Hundreds of Boundary County citizens strolled down Main Street enjoying the perfect weather, mingling with friends and neighbors, and, of course, sampling the many distinct salsa recipes and the voting for their favorite.

Michael Listman, one of the co-organizers of the Festival, said "I think the turn-out was excellent despite the other events going on. There's a lot of tie in with the Farmer's Market. We're all business owners working 50 to 60 hours a week, and we have to find time in our weeks to put this together. We also have a lot of sponsors who helped out as well. We probably put in 500 man-hours total since we started planning for this in February."

From the free face painting to the funnel cakes, to the row of salsa makers lining the center of Main Street, the crowd enjoyed being out in the warm sunshine after a long winter cooped up inside.

One of the salsa contestants, Samm Bloc who was representing Mugsy's, said, "I've been extremely busy. We brought a gallon and a half of salsa and some extra "just in case." Now we're using our "just in case" supply. We've had a great turn-out and a lot of compliments on the salsa, so that's a lot of fun.

In fact, there was such a large turn-out for the festival that many contestants ran out of salsa before noon. Of the salsa recipes, LD Huggins said, "They were all good. There wasn't a loser in the bunch."

Rita Pensmith, one of the festival co-organizers, said, "We've had such a great response that next year, the contestants are going to need to bring three gallons of salsa with them."

Zachary And Sherry Whitson Competed In The Salsa Contest.

Kevin Callos was justifiably proud of his "Barely Legal" salsa recipe, saying that if it were any better, it would be illegal. His friend, Mike Naumann entered the contest because he "wanted to give Kevin some competition" with his "Local and Fresh" salsa recipe.

A testament to the diversity of our community, the good-natured crowd consisted of every age group from senior citizens to toddlers in strollers. Business men in suits and ties mingled with friends and neighbors wearing Carharts, ball caps or cowboy hats. Families hung out together shopping along Main Street, many walking through the block to check out the Farmers' Market.

The judges of the salsa competition were Brett Brown, Rhonda Vogl, Allen Hamilton and Lisa Holmes. They chose Jim Rosauer for first place and Bianca Salles for second place in the Judge's Choice category. In the People's Choice category, first place went to Zachary Whitson, second place went to Kevin Callos and third place went to Aaron Brooks. Lillie Albertson won the recipe hunt. The raffle drawing for the gift basket will take place on June 6 at the Borders 3 Jamboree Car Show.

Terry Capurso said, "It was just great. The nice thing about it was the sunny day. Who wouldn't want to be out here?"

"Next year, I'm going to have to compete," said Shanna Wilson. "I like the festival atmosphere. Bonners Ferry is a wonderful hometown and I would love to see more people down here."


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