By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Ten minutes meant crunch time for Greg Beachey Saturday.
The ice carver from New Paris was putting the last-minute touches on his ice sculpture, dubbed “Fairy,” in the three-hour ice carving competition during the Fire and Ice Festival in downtown Goshen.
“She’s not what I planned but I’ll take it,” Beachey said. “It almost never does turn out the way (an ice carver plans). You have to be ready to adapt and keep on going.”
And the judges for the competition awarded him second place for his work. Mike Evans of Edwardsburg received first place for his ice sculpture, “Circus act.”
Josh Niven of Buchanan, Mich., was surprised at receiving third place in the competition for his carving of an eagle.
“I surprised myself. I’m still at a loss. I exceeded my own expectations for my abilities,” Niven said, as he completed the final details before the judging.
Niven been carving ice for almost three years and works for the company, Cities Pure Ice Inc. in LaPorte, that supplies ice for local ice festivals.
Ice carving wasn’t the only downtown Goshen attraction Saturday. There was also the “chili fire” competition.
The participants in the chili contest included staffers at A Constant Spring, The Electric Brew, Elks Lodge 768, Maple City Market, Mattern’s Butcher Shop, Rachel’s Bread and San Marcos.
Maple City Market came in first with the most votes in the competition.
Keith Hiebner had one of the 250 tickets that allowed him to cast his vote for the best-tasting chili made by the participants. He had his small notebook handy to take notes and used his cell phone to take pictures to help him make his final choices during the two-hour competition.
“I am definitely judging and lucky to get to sample all seven,” Hiebner said, smiling, while sampling the Texas-style chili at Constant Spring.
“Maple City Market is going to be hard to beat but this is going to be hard to decide,” he said, after tasting a spoonful of the chili. “There is a plethora of flavor. It’s very good.”
Jason Oswald, owner of Constant Spring, told Niven and other people sampling his chili some of the ingredients.
“I use Yoder’s beef, six different chili peppers, beer, coffee, cocoa and no beans,” Oswald said, as he filled small cups with samples for festival-goers taking part in the judging.
“It’s been a steady flow here and it’s cold enough to keep the ice around,” Oswald said, “And it’s sunny.”
The sunny sky and mid-30-degree temperature seemed to make people enjoy the day more, Hiebner added.
“Everybody is so upbeat and so cheerful. It’s so cool,” Hiebner said.