Pizza, the saucy, cheesy, Friday-night go-to meal for many Long Island families, took the spotlight at the 3rd Annual Farmingville Street Fair held Sunday on Portion Road in Farmingville.
For the first time, the event included Pauly’s Pizza Eating Contest, which was born out of a discussion at last year’s fair.
“Not too many street fairs have a pizza eating contest built into it,” said Michael Wentz, president of the Farmingville Hills Chamber of Commerce.
The contest, which had 10 participants, was judged by Town of Brookhaven Councilman Kevin LaValle, and two Farmingville natives, Keith Kinkaid, a goaltender in the New Jersey Devils organization, and Jill Nicolini, a CBS New York traffic reporter.
East participant in the 10-minute contest started with four pizza slices. The objective was simple: Eat as much pizza as you can. The rules were a bit more stringent. There was to be no stacking, no dipping pizza into water, and no purging for two minutes after the contest concluded.
Lake Ronkonkoma resident Laura Petraco, one of two female contestants, said the first bite was important.
Petraco, 38, said she generally starts eating a slice at a corner crust because, “It’s the sauciest.” But strategy trumped her tradition during the competition, thus she started with the tip. She wanted to avoid filling up on crust.
Petraco’s approach was, “slow and steady,” finishing two and half slices. “I was eating as fast as I could without getting sick,” she said.
Andrew Monteverde, 21, dove right in.
“I was just hungry and I was ready to eat,” said Monteverde, a Farmingville resident and Farmingville Fire Department volunteer. Monteverde has a self-described competitive streak. His thought process: “I better win. I can’t lose. I don’t lose anything.”
Monteverde could rest easy. He finished in first place, eating eight slices in 10 minutes, which earned him a commemorative Farmingville Street Fair T-shirt, $50 gift card to Pauly’s Pizza & Pasta and a $50 Visa gift card.
Meanwhile, Lisa Awe, 46, of Blue Point, said “if I am not on a time schedule, I can eat a pie by myself.” She finished four slices.
The competitors impressed Kinkaid.
“I was amazed at how many slices they could eat,” he said, adding that while he wasn’t sure if pizza eating was a sport, “you definitely need mental toughness to keep down those pizzas.”