St. James Church in East Cowes is again the location of one of the most exciting annual festivals held on the Isle of Wight--the Isle of Wight Jigsaw Puzzle Festival. Puzzlers from all over England are expected to descend upon East Cowes to compete for some of the best prizes ever offered in such a competition.
Jack Hempsberry, the organizer of the event, has been a puzzler since he was a small child. "It's true," claims Hempsberry, "me mum will attest to the fact that I've puzzled the best of them." Hempsberry will compete this year as a member of the East London Gin and Jiggers Club, the team that took the title of Top Jiggers in 2006 and 2009. They are said to be masters at the tricky Wasgij puzzles (jigsaw spelled backwards), and have been training for this festival since April.
There will be events for children on up to senior jiggers, affectionately known as "jigglers" and festival-appropriate foods will be served as well, including jigsaw pizza. The competitions will vary from the very simple two-piece puzzle up to the most difficult level 9,000-piece puzzle which is expected to take an entire 6 days to complete. This year's theme is "Whelks 'n Winkles" and each competition puzzle will have something to do with that subject. Whelks 'n Winkles is expected to present the puzzlers with incredible challenges.
Last year's theme, "Sand" ended with no team actually able to complete the entire puzzle within the 6 days of the festival. In fact, the puzzle was so difficult that it caused the complete mental breakdown of two of the contestants on the West Sussex Jolly Jiggers team. Event organizers for this year's puzzle festival will have on hand psychiatric assistance for anyone needing it.
Festival goers who are planning on attending the event as spectators will be happy to know that in addition to the Jigsaw Puzzle Festival going on at St. James, there will also be a water festival being held at water's edge. Complimentary water pistols will be handed out to all fairgoers and are expected to come in handy after watching several hours of team after team assembling giant jigsaw puzzles.