The annual watermelon eating competition is a crowd favourite at Pioneer Day with ten contestants taking on a quarter piece of the fruit. This particular round was won by Devon Flynn who seemed to literally inhale the juicy melon.

Pioneer Day in Hazelton

Residents celebrate the annual Pioneer Day in Old Hazelton.

  • Aug. 15, 2011 5:00 p.m.

The annual Pioneer Day celebration in Old Hazelton was a success once again  with many in attendance despite rainy weather on Saturday.

Things started off early with a pancake breakfast at the Historic BC Café at 8 a.m. followed by the Pioneer Day 5 or 10 km run/walk registration at the Riverboat.

Kids bike decorating got underway just before 11 a.m. where several youngsters showed up to get ready for the parade at noon.

This year’s best float prize of $300 went to the Hazelton Wolverines float which boasted “Wolfy” the Wolverine mascot.

Second place and $200 went to the Bulkley Valley Credit Union and third was awarded to the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs who were cooking salmon on an open fire on their float and children were handing out candy.

After the parade, the streets came to life with music, a variety of food and merchandise vendors and displays, pony rides and the fireman’s challenge for children of all ages.

The Costume Competition winners were Phil Muir for the best dressed male and Peggy Muir for the best dressed female and the best dressed children went to the Naylor families three girls, Magine, Soulie and Iyla.

The annual Iron Chef competition, hosted by Dr. Peter Newbery,  was won by “The People with Experience” team which was comprised of Eunice Donaldson and Sue Donaldson, second was team “Wonder Dogs” Devon Flynn and Mike Donaldson.

Newbery said it was a close race with last minute entries.

“They really did a spectacular job as the Wonder Dogs were pressed into it after a last minute cancellation,” he said. “But the crowd was  great, tension was amazing, and all the ingredients came from within ten kilometres of the cooking site.”

There were several prizes for the draws this year with the stipulation that people had to be there to win which meant a large crowd of people stayed later to see if they could pick up one of the prizes. The grand prize of a trip for two to Vancouver courtesy of Hawkair was won by a Mary-Jane McGregor from Kelowna who used to live in the Hazelton’s years ago.

In the evening the sixth Annual Candles by the River Luminary for Cancer was held along the boardwalk beside the Riverboat. The 131 luminaries lit up the path from dusk until 11 p.m. and this year more than $500 was raised. People can still donate by going into the BVCU and putting money in the Gifts for Others account which is used to help those battling cancer. They can also contact Jude Hobenshield at the Hazelton branch for more details.

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