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Joey Chestnut seeking 7th straight asparagus eating title in Stockton

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POSTED April 18, 2012 12:10 a.m.

STOCKTON — Northern California’s own and No. 1-ranked competitive eater Joey Chestnut will return to the 27th Annual Stockton Asparagus Festival in search of the seventh asparagus-eating title of his career at the World Fried Asparagus Eating Championship.

Chestnut will make the walk through Asparagus Alley and onto the Weber Point Event Center stage that launched his Major League Eating career back in 2005.

Chestnut is expected to face stiff competition from No. 2-ranked Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, the 2009 asparagus-eating champion from Chicago, and No. 6-ranked Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, a rising Major League Eater who, like Chestnut, hails from San Jose.

A host of Major League Eating pros will also compete including No. 7-ranked Adrian Morgan of Baton Rouge, LA, #15-ranked Badlands Booker, of New York City, No. 21-ranked Michelle Lesco of Tucson, AZ, and MLE rookie Meredith Boxberger of Ontario, Canada.

 “The deep-fried asparagus eating contest is certainly a highlight of our festival,” said Kate Post, executive director of the Stockton Asparagus Festival. “We’ve seen Joey reach the pinnacle of his trade right before our eyes. However, Joey has lost before and anything can happen. If he isn’t at his best, we could witness a monumental upset. I expect a huge crowd to turn out this year to watch the greatest eater in history take the stage in Stockton.”

In 2011, Chestnut set the world record after eating 9.325 pounds of deep-fried asparagus in 10 minutes.  He has won five consecutive Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating titles and is still the top-ranked eater in the world.  Standing between him and continued asparagus eating glory will be fourteen Major League eaters and local hopefuls that are registered to compete in the World Deep-Fried Asparagus-Eating Championship, which occurs at high noon on April 28 and kicks off a busy festival day.

The event features delicious, thick deep-fried spears of locally grown asparagus. The winner will take home a cash prize of $1,500 and the beautiful champion’s trophy. Second place earns $750 and third place earns $500.

The 27th Annual Stockton Asparagus Festival, called the Best of the West Food Fest by Sunset magazine, is a three-day, multi-event, food and entertainment festival that celebrates asparagus. The festival, held April 27-29, features three performance stages, an Asparagus Alley with delicious deep-fried asparagus, a celebrity chef cooking demonstration kitchen, a fabulous Spear-Its of the Valley wine and beer pavilion, and exhibits by more than hundreds of food purveyors and 100 specialty merchandise vendors. The festival is the largest charitable food festival in California. Over 5,000 volunteers representing over 100 non-profit organizations work to make it a huge success.

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