Spaghetti eating champion defends his title

Keith Jett

Wind and rain whipped through the fairgrounds Tuesday evening, hampering the mood, but not holding off the second annual spaghetti eating contest sponsored by Italian Touch. The weather drove everyone to cover, but as the skies cleared spirits rallied.

As the clouds rolled away and thunderclaps were only heard in the distance, fair organizers reminded everyone 18 and older there were still spaghetti plates available for the brave and willing.

“It was a torrential downpour and we still got the 10 people,” John Riggs, a manager at Italian Touch said. “Everyone had a good time, we had a good turnout, so it was awesome.”

This year’s contest wasn’t much of a competition as Keith Jett put down his clean tray in a matter of minutes, defending the title he captured last year.

“That’s the way I eat every day,” Jett said.

Jett is a maintenance worker at the fairgrounds who took a break from his day that started at 6 a.m. to grab his quick meal. Despite his dominance, Jett says he doesn’t bother with other eating competitions.

“Just the spaghetti,” he said. “It’s my favorite food.”

Nick Silvestri, the owner of the Italian Touch, said keeping a connection with the community is what brought on the contest.

“We’ve been here for over 17 years in the valley and we’ve got a lot of our customers here and we just like to stay in touch with the people,” he said.

Even after the contest wrapped up, competitors were still happy to sit and munch on the leftovers. For some, it was their introduction to Italian Touch.

“We did have some people say they had never come to our establishment; they just moved here and asked us where it was,” Riggs said. “They said they’d show up because the spaghetti was good, even though they had to eat a lot of it.”

Other eating contests at this year’s fair include wings, nachos, chili dogs and donuts.