It’s got to be the wackiest way to promote cheese but the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival has proven to be highly effective—right out of the gate. About 5,000 people watched the inaugural event at Whistler, British Columbia, two years ago. Who knows how many will show up for the 2010 race this Saturday?
What’s really surprising is that the crazy afternoon of cheese rolling and other activities for the whole family is sponsored and promoted by Dairy Farmers of Canada, an organization generally seen as staid.
Cheese rolling is exactly that. A large wheel of cheese is rolled down a hill and daring men and women chase after it. The first contestant to make it down the hill wins. Vancouver Island cheesemaker Natural Pastures produced special 11-pound wheels of Cracked Pepper Verdelait cheese for the Festival. The winners get to take home the wheel of 100-percent Canadian cheese and a Whistler season ski pass.
“Last year, the attendance at the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival was above our expectations and many people from across the country and abroad have asked us to bring it back,” says Solange Heiss, a spokeperson for Dairy Farmers of Canada. “It’s a great activity for the entire family and a fantastic way to showcase the amazing 100-percent Canadian cheeses this country has to offer.”
The race course will be set up in Whistler’s Upper Village on Blackcomb Mountain. Free round trip transportation to Blackcomb Mountain Base 2 parking lot via Excalibur Gondola in Whistler village is available for everyone. Anyone over 19 years of age can participate and contestants can register on site on August 14. The downhill event will consist of six men’s and three women’s races. The winner from each round will compete in the finals. For the kids, there will be six uphill races that will be a little easier.
In addition to the races, spectators, families and contestants can take in a host of other fun activities including cheese bowling and cheese twister. Everyone will be able to sample delicious Canadian cheese, wander through a Farmers Market and participate in cheese seminars. Canadian comic and award-winning host, Jebb Fink, will be hosting the festivities.
For more information about the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival, click here.
CheeseLover.ca has been unable to confirm that a cheese-rolling festival will take place this fall in Toronto’s High Park.