An Independence Day contest entering its second year on Thursday lets all participants have their cake and eat it, too.
Croissants Bistro & Bakery, at Grissom Parkway and 38th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, will get extra sweet in serving up its second annual Fourth of July Cupcake Eating Contest. At this two-hour party beginning at 3 p.m. with entertainment various family activities, registrants for this marathon to munch down as many cupcakes as possible in five minutes must check in by 3:30 p.m.
Heidi Vukov, owner of Croissants, and Dennis Devorick, the winner of the 2012 inaugural event after consuming 19 cupcakes in five minutes, each offered their ingredients for making this contest a tradition every July.
Question | How did this Fourth of July tradition get whipped up?
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Vukov | One of my wait staff, a waiter from New York, Mike, thought it would be a great idea. He is so pumped up about the event. He told me last year that we were going to grow this thing into something bigger than Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. Well, we were actually listed in the June 2013 Food Network Magazine right under the Coney Island contest. How cool is that?
Q. | How many contestants turned out for the inaugural event?
Vukov | Last year, I believe we had 22.
Q. | As of June 24, how many were signed up far for 2013, and what is the capacity?
Vukov | This year we are allowing 50 contestants. We currently have about 20 signed up. We are also having several local attractions mascots attending this year’s event, including Sharkee and the two-headed cow from Ripley’s, Magic from the Palace Theatre, and Chauncey from Coastal Carolina University. Our price package is valued at more than $1,000, but we are still receiving prices from all over town.
Q. | How many cupcakes get baked and put in the hopper just for this cause?
Vukov | Last year, we had no idea how many people would turn out. We also had no idea how many cupcakes anyone could possibly consume in five minutes, so we made more than 1,000 cupcakes. We had quite a bit left over; although, if we have 50 contestants we will make more than that amount this year.
Q. | Does one flavor or cupcake kind get devoured more quickly than the rest by such contestants?
Vukov | To make it fair, there will only be one flavor: vanilla with vanilla butter cream icing.
Devorick, the principal at Carolina Forest Elementary School, and the new pastor at Centenary United Methodist Church in Conway and formerly of Wampee United Methodist Church, reflected on the 2012 event and his plans to compete again this year. He had flown this past week to Columbiana, Ohio, south of Youngstown, to help his daughter drive down in a truck with her move to begin her studies at Horry-Georgetown Technical College this fall, with a goal of returning to the Grand Strand in time to defend his crown.
Q. | How did your entry into this kind of consumption challenge last year result?
Devorick | My sister signed me up. She has seen me at the buffets around here. ... She just signed me up on a whim.
Q. | What, if any, preparations or practice, took place leading up to the contest?
Devorick | I didn’t really practice, but in a school with 1,000 students, we do get a lot of cupcakes, from lots of birthdays. ... I like dessert.
Q. | What did the prizes for the title include?
Devorick | A lot of gift certificates to all the area attractions ... Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, the Carolina Opry, Brookgreen Gardens. ... We got tickets to all to the shows, and gift certificates for restaurants, movie theaters, and Myrtle Beach Zipline Adventures and Free Fall – I was ready to have a heart attack, but my daughter did it, and I went first.
Q. | Is there a pace for devouring cupcakes in this fashion?
Devorick | I bite the crown of the cupcake first, then the second bite is for the rest of the cupcake. They also put little candy sprinkles – little stars – on the cupcakes for a little incentive.
Q. | What makes this kind of camaraderie does this contest generate for this holiday?
Devorick | Last year, Jon Cord, a special education teacher from Carolina Forest Elementary who will be at North Myrtle Beach Elementary for the next school year, also competed, but he stopped, and he cheered me on. ... It’s fun, like the Coney Island hot dog contest; hopefully, it’ll become a tradition here. ... Also, with July Fourth ... I always am thankful for, most importantly, our nation, and thankful for our troops. We had a couple of military people in the contest as well. It’s a great community fun thing to do.