Caruso’s to host ice cream eating contest during Ice Time

DOWAGIAC — Those looking to satisfy a sweet tooth will have a chance to do so and win a prize at this weekend’s Ice Time Festival in downtown Dowagiac.

Caruso’s Candy Kitchen, 130 S. Front St., will host an ice cream eating contest during the 23rd annual Ice Time Festival Saturday. The competition will begin at 2:30 p.m., but those wishing to partake in the contest should arrive early to sign up. The competition will be split into different heats based on age groups ranging from young children to adults. Winners will receive a gift certificate to Caruso’s, while all participants will receive a pin from Caruso’s. There is no cost to participate.

“It never fails to draw a crowd,” said Julie Johnson, owner of Caruso’s, about the contest. “People really seem to enjoy it.”

Contestants in the ice cream eating contest will eat The Pig’s Dinner, a dish from Caruso’s that features four scoops of different ice cream flavors, four different toppings, sliced bananas and whipped cream. The whole treat is served in a wooden trough that contestants must eat out of without using their hands.

“Despite the cold temperature, participants sit at a table outside,” Johnson said. “Why not go full in with cold weather and ice cream? It’s a fun contest.”

Johnson said that the event has seen many repeat contestants and winners over the years, and always attracts a large crowd to watch contestants sink their faces into a big bowl of ice cream.

“It’s something everyone looks forward to watching,” she said. “It’s great to see the enthusiasm in the participants and the crowd that it draws. It’s a lot of fun to watch them.”

Not only does Caruso’s host the ice cream eating contest to bring smiles to contestants and onlookers alike, but Johnson said that she also believes it is important for her business to be involved in the community through festivals like Ice Time.

She added that Ice Time is a particularly enjoyable festival as it gets people out and about during the winter months and provides unique forms of entertainment through events such as ice sculpting.

“It creates awareness for local businesses,” Johnson said. “It’s important to be recognized as participating in our local and community events.”

The Ice Time Festival will get underway at 8 a.m. in downtown Dowagiac. Several local businesses will be offering sales and activities throughout the day. For a full schedule of events, visit the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.