WAIMEA — “I was waiting for the lunchwagon and they told me to come eat,” said Javan Torres. “I thought this was the Spam musubi eating contest, but no, it was the hot dog eating contest. I can eat rice like nobody else, but hot dogs? I thought this was Menehuneland, but the portions were big.”
Torres was one of the contestants in the inaugural hot dog eating contest that highlighted the Music In The Park Series Tuesday to open the week-long Waimea Town Celebration that includes more contests, entertainment, a softball tournament, the Captain Cook Caper run, a rodeo, paniolo hat lei contest, 3-on-3 basketball, and a two-day ho‘olaulea under the shadow of the old sugar mill.
“The world record is six hot dogs in three minutes,” said Thomas Nizo. “We’re starting everyone off with six dogs to eat in three minutes. For the Kim Chee eating contest, Thursday, it’s four pounds. That’s how much they do in Haleiwa, Oahu. We’ll see how that goes.”
Ipo Keahi, representing Ishihara Market in the Business category, reigned supreme by gobbling five of the six hot dogs laid out.
“It was awesome,” Keahi said. “I could’ve done it (broke the world record). I just needed a few more seconds.”
Elliott Kaui, of Aunty Lilikoi Products located across the road from Hofgaard Park, topped the individual category, pocketing $100 cash for his efforts that fell shy of Keahi’s win.
“It’s not easy,” Kaui said. “It’s hard if no mo’ condiments. If I sit down, I can take down 10-15 dogs, easy, but this is against the clock.”
The Music In The Park, sponsored Tuesday by Hartung Bros., featured Michael Keale, a Hoku Hanohano award winner playing traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music, some of which triggered emcee Pualilia Hernandez of Hawaii island to hula for the guests enjoying the shade on the recently-installed benches.
“We came to support Puni Patrick,” said Aunty Geri Kuhia of Los Angeles who were part of the group with Hernandez, Daniel DeMeyere, U‘i Boyd, and Aunty Carole White to help with the logistics of the Waimea Town Celebration. “We have a musical group, Mehana Music, and we’re scheduled to play Wednesday. We got in on Friday, and so far, all of the performances we’ve been to has been phenomenal. There is a lot of good talent on this island.”
Chef Adam and Marie Weiner of California were helping during the American Culinary Federation, Kauai Chapter Breakfast on Sunday. They made the trip to Waimea to take in Keale’s performance at Hofgaard Park.
“He’s our favorite musician,” said Chef Adam, showing off an artwork he picked up from a gallery. “Whenever we come, we go out to listen to him perform. And, we don’t only cook, we spend money, too.”
Carla Dusenberry of the E(at) and G(itt) lunchwagon was busy distributing her specials to the hungry crowd.
“I’m entering the ukulele contest Saturday,” Dusenberry said. “I only recently bought an ukulele from Doc Arrington and I’ve been playing. I might not be the youngest one entering the contest, but I’m gonna geev ‘um.”
For a full schedule of events, visit www.thegardenisland.com and click the Waimea Town Celebration tab.