Ice cream takes center stage at Bonfire Bash

Alex Doty • Jan 29, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Cheers from the crowd helped power participants through the challenge of the Winterfest Bonfire Bash ice cream eating contest on Saturday.

Thirty-seven children and adults participated in the first-ever ice cream eating contest, helping to raise an estimated $400 for the Reimagine Project fundraiser, which is raising money to build a new Imagination Station play space at Mulligan’s Hollow.

The winners of the contest — kids champion Maddie Davis and adult champion Michael Westrate — received vouchers for ice cream for a year from Sweet Temptations.

“Thankfully I had some people in the crowd cheering me on, saying ‘ice cream for a year, ice cream for a year, ice cream for a year,’” said Westrate, a West Olive resident.

Westrate’s strategy for competing was to be efficient.

“It happened so quick that I had to realize that chewing it might not be an option,” he said. “I just had to take tiny bites and just swallow it.”

Westgate also said that he was happy to help with the fundraising for the Reimagine Project, and to participate in a day’s worth of Winterfest activity on Saturday.

“I love Grand Haven,” he said. “I’ve been down here since this morning, watching the whole cardboard sled race.”

Kelly Larson, who is a member of the Reimagine Project committee, said the idea for the ice cream eating contest came about after the group was looking for another fundraiser for the new play space.

“The theme of the day is flexibility. Having never done a contest like this before, I shook all my old trees to see how other people have done it,” she said. “We came up with the format of not using your hands and going face first into it.”

“We’re in the best community,” Larson said. “All day it’s been busy and we have the best weather for this, too. We were kind of hoping for a blizzard so we could be eating ice cream outside in the snow, but oh well.”

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