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Flairfest offers drinks and a show

Author: Doris Furlot
Source: The Okanagan Saturday

KELOWNA – While the liquor might be flowing at an extreme bartending competition this weekend, the winner will be the one who doesn’t waste a drop.


“This is the biggest extreme bartending event ever to come to the Okanagan,” said local Flairfest organizer Dave Simpson of www.extremebartending.com.


Bottle-flipping talents and expert mixology like those featured in the 1986 Tom Cruise movie Cocktail are only the beginning, according to Simpson.


“Any sloppiness will be penalize!  Spillage is unacceptable!” are the admonishments in the competitor briefing documents.


The competition rules go on to say, “You are an ambassador to a relatively new and misunderstood way of conducting our business, so this is your opportunity to be a professional and show the skeptics what’s possible.


The fancy bartending demonstrations also adhere to a strict “no fire” rule.


Simpson said 20 people are expected to compete, include hotshots from Las Vegas, Vancouver and Alberta.


“There’s an extreme bartending event every month all over the world,” said Simpson.


The biggest show is the Legends of Bartending in Las Vegas, where the top prize is $15,000.


The winner at Kelowna’s Flairfest walks away with $1,000, and another $1,200 is divided among the rest of the top 10.


“We believe that when it’s done right, everybody wins: the customer, the bar and the bartender.  Unfortunately, it’s not always done right.  That makes it tough on all of us who want to use these performance skills to make a better living,” according to the Bartenders Guild.


Even though many advance tickets have been sold for Flairfest events at Splash’s nightclub, which run from Sunday through Tuesday, Simpson said tickets are still available for sale at McCulloch Station Pub and Splash’s.

Date: April 8th, 2005

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