Love pepperoni rolls?
Then it’s time to unite, and cheer on others who can’t get enough of them.
Fairmont’s Three Rivers Festival is the place to be tonight.
The 7th Annual World Championship Pepperoni Roll Eating Contest with Major League Eaters. This foodie fun begins at 8 p.m. in Palatine Park.
It’s a legitimate world class event and is sanctioned by Major League Eaters, an organization which keeps track of the winners at eating competitions across the country and ranks them.
Country Club Bakery of Fairmont is providing the pepperoni rolls sanctioned for the contest, and each one weighs 3.25 ounces.
That’s fitting since Giuseppe “Joseph” Argiro, who opened the bakery, is credited with having baked the first pepperoni rolls as early as 1927. The rolls were popular with coal miners who needed a filling but portable meal down in the mines.
Argiro, an Italian immigrant and coal miner, quit the mines to begin baking full time after his rolls caught on with other miners in north central West Virginia.
Current owner Chris Pallotta continues to use the original recipe that draws hundreds of people to his shop each week, while orders are also shipped coast to coast and to nearly every state.
Fairmont is still considered by many people to be the Pepperoni Roll Capital of the World.
Tonight’s contestants will have 10 minutes to down as many rolls as possible, and can dunk them if desired.
California resident Matt “Megatoad” Stonie set the world record in 2015 by downing 34 in 10 minutes which is almost seven pounds of white bread and pepperoni.
Stone still holds the world record but it will be on the line tonight when a $5,000 cash purse is up for grabs. The first place winner will receive $2,000, second gets $1,250 and third receives $750, followed by fourth ($500), fifth ($300) and sixth ($200).
Last year, Massachusetts resident Geoffrey Esper, the No. 10 competitive eater in the world, won by eating 23 rolls.
He bested Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas, the No. 2 competitive eater in the world who ate just 20 rolls.
Contestants cram their faces in front of audience members who cheer for their favorites. It’s become the highlight of this annual festival which is now in its 38th year, according to event organizers.
Two of the leading competitors slated to participate are women.
No matter who wins, there’s plenty of good food and fun for everyone.
Fireworks will cap off this year’s festivities at 10 p.m.