ESCANABA - Fans of free food and competitive eating will have something to smile about Saturday during a free community picnic and hot dog eating contest in Ludington Park to celebrate Escanaba's sesquicentennial.
The picnic and hot dog eating contest are sponsored by the Daily Press, Elmer's County Market, Bink's Wine and Beverages, Eagle 107.3 FM, and Jilbert Dairy. According to Ann Troutman, advertising manager at the Daily Press, the businesses sponsoring the events together have been a part of the local community for more than 275 years.
"We all wanted to do something for the community for the 150th celebration," said Troutman.
Daily Press Publisher Dan McDonald, Nick Bink of Bink’s Wine and Beverages, and Mike Dagenais of Elmer’s County Market, from left, prepare for the picnic and hot dog eating contest this weekend by sampling hot dogs and soda. (Daily Press photo by Holly Richer)
The free picnic will kick off at 11 a.m. and will continue until 1 p.m. in Ludington Park across from the Harbor Hideout playground. Three thousand hot dogs will be served during the event, plus chips, soda, and ice cream from Jilbert Dairy.
"We're going to have tents set up (and) there's going to be an eating area off from where we're cooking," said Daily Press Publisher Dan McDonald.
The hot dog eating contest will take place immediately following a performance of the national anthem by Addison Peterson at noon. Eagle 107.3 FM will be broadcasting a live remote of the hot dog eating contest.
Representatives from 11 local non-profits will attempt to eat as many hot dogs as possible in five minutes. While all participants will receive a t-shirt commemorating the event, the competitor who devours the most hot dogs will win bragging rights and $500 for their group.
"We're going to be having cheer cards available if people want to come and support their favorite charity," said Troutman.
Competing in the event will be Cole Bougie, Tri-County Safe Harbor; Pat Murray, Bark River Lions Club; Marc Pride, United Way; Baily Lamb, Delta Animal Shelter; Chad Leisenring, Rotary Club of Escanaba; Todd Belongie, Escanaba Kiwanis Club; Bryant Beam, Salvation Army; Sean Berhow, St. Vincent de Paul Society; Colin Uhazie, Community Foundation of Delta County; Curtis Labadie, Bark River Fire Department; and Todd Tardiff, Delta County Sheriff Department and the Shop with a Cop program.