Friday, July 17, 2015

West Virginia Three Rivers Festival

Three Rivers Festival

The West Virginia Three Rivers Festival has lived in various forms since its inception - starting as a festival called Septemberfest and lasting just two days. It evolved to becoming a festival celebrating coal and then to river activities. Finally, it has settled upon The West Virginia Three Rivers Festival and has evolved to celebrate the pepperoni roll culture. Considering the pepperoni roll's birthplace is most often credited to Fairmont, it only makes sense to have a festival celebrate it. The WV Three Rivers Festival is as close as it gets. The Three Rivers Festival happened at the end of May, but I haven't had a chance to upload photos until recently.

Three Rivers Festival

There are two main pepperoni roll events: the amateur pepperoni roll bake-off and the pepperoni roll eating competition.

Three Rivers Festival
The bake-off had 10 entries from area businesses, and a panel of judges (yours truly included) received scorecards and scored each entry according to taste, appearance and texture. Taste counted for double points. The winner ended up being Firehouse Cafe by the judges, and the pageant queens chose Abruzzino's Bakery and Hank's Deli in a tie. Firehouse Cafe gets to hold the trophy until next year. I'm not totally sure which ones I liked and which ones I didn't because it was a blind taste-test, obviously. But I do remember one having a sweeter taste with ground pepperoni that was awesome.

Three Rivers FestivalThe other major pepperoni roll event is the eating contest. When I was a reporter, I wrote about this event, but I hadn't attended. This isn't an amateur eating contest. No. This is with professional competitive eaters - the best in the world. You know Joey Chestnut? The guy who eats all of the hotdogs? This is the organization he's part of - Major League Eaters. And the guy who is quickly overcoming Chestnut for the #1 ranked eater in the world? That's Matt Stonie.

Stonie broke a world record at this festival by eating 34 Country Club pepperoni rolls in 10 minutes. That's him in the center. Miki Sudo, the #4 ranked eater in the world, to the left came in at 28.5 pepperoni rolls. And Adrian Morgan, to the right, ate 23.