Although local thermometers pushed 80 degrees this weekend, several hundred people had the chance to see snow in the Holy City on Saturday. But the flakes didn't fall from the sky — they were hauled in from The Ice Palace via truck for the Rail Roast Jam, a snowboarding competition, oyster roast, and all-around party held at the Brick House Kitchen on James Island.
The all-day event kicked off around noon with riders testing the rail and pushing around the snow, which quickly turned to slush in the afternoon sun. Live music started around 1:30 p.m. as The 3 Dudes, a band of brothers ranging in age from 10 to 12, took the stage with impressive and entertaining rock ballads.
During a break in the snowboarding action, people gathered around shucking stations and enjoyed buckets of local oysters while the bongo-and-acoustic twosome Rawberry Jam rattled off renditions of the Backstreet Boys and Sublime.
The crowd was fascinated by everything from the sight of snow in the Lowcountry to the riders' abilities on the rail. "I'm really impressed with what they did out here," said attendee Clay Keziah. "I'm having some fun with some friends, there's good snowboarding going on, the food's good, drinks are cheap. It's a good atmosphere out here."
After sunset, a fresh batch of snow arrived, and riders got to work dispersing it around the ramp, preparing for the final heat. According to rider Alex Beazey, anyone with a passion for snowboarding should have jumped at the chance to do so just a few short miles from the beach. "It's awesome that somebody is putting on something as cool as this," Beazey said.
With nightfall, the spotlight was on the rail as the last round of the competition got under way. Laser lights dashed through the trees as the sizeable crowd gathered to see riders give it their all, battling for first place and a $300 cash prize. No one held back, and the crowd was treated to a handful of awe-inspiring maneuvers. Their cheers narrowed the field down to the top three: John Long, Andy Chen, and Casey Myers. It was ultimately a close call between Long and Myers for first place, with Long pulling out the victory. After the winners were announced, the party continued as Philadelphia-based rock/reggae jammers Long Miles took the stage for their second set of the night.
The Rail Roast Jam brought a friendly, unique aura to the Brick House on Saturday. Chad Sumner, whose party-planning company Holy City Events organized the event, was elated with the turnout and hopes to continue bringing functions like this to Charleston.