Donut-eating contest at fair recognized by international association

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 16 November 2015 at 12:00 am

File photos by Tom Rivers – Ken Strickland, an investigator with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, competes in a new donut-eating contest at the fair last July. He competed against 4-H’ers and 4-H volunteers. Every contestant ate more donuts than Strickland. Deputy Jeff Cole also competed in one of the heats.

KNOWLESVILLE – The Orleans County 4-H Fair is getting some international attention for its first-ever donut-eating contest held during the fair in late July.

The International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) has awarded the contest first place (fairs under 100,000 in attendance division) in the Competitive Exhibits (participatory contest) category of its annual contest program.

“This is the first time our fair has been recognized with an IAFE award and we’re all very excited,” says Robert Batt, Orleans County 4-H Youth Development Educator.

The award will be presented at the IAFE Convention in Las Vegas Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

“Brandon Johnson will attend to represent our fair as he has for the last three years while looking for new exciting entertainment,” Batt said. “Our entry will also be put on a flash drive and shared along with all other winners with all member fairs in attendance at the IAFE annual convention.”

According to the IAFE website, the contest program awards, “display the level of professionalism we strive to uphold in the industry.”

The IAFE represents more than 1,000 fairs around the world.

Jason Clark, center, and Morgan Seielstad compete in a donut-eating contest. Contestants were challenged to eat six doughnuts.

The Donut Eating Contest was sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, which provided the donuts for the event. The event included heats involving three participants at a time who went head to head with a local law enforcement officer from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department to see who could consume the most donuts during a set period of time.

Participant and audience reactions were excellent, fair officials reported in their entry form for the award.

“Many people have already commented that they plan to participate again next year and we have a small number of sheriff’s deputies working on plans and strategies for next year,” the entry states.

The awards and convention bring recognition to the Orleans County 4-H Fair, and also help local fair planners make the Orleans County 4-H Fair an even better event.

“These awards allow our fair members to not only compete for top honors in the respective division, contest, and categories, but also give fair representatives the opportunity to network,” the IAFE website states. “Having the ability to learn from one another in the fair industry is priceless.”

Robert Batt agrees. “Hopefully Brandon (Johnson) comes back with some more news about potential acts and a thumb drive full of great ideas for us to think about.”