However, for a change of pace this year, Weehawken Recreation Director Chuck Barone made a shift in the menu.
Out with the hot dogs, in with pizza.
"It is one of my favorite foods, but I have so many, so it's hard to decide," Barone said. "But we wanted to vary some things. We used hot dogs for a few years, and that was popular, but we figured to try something different, and we figured that every kid loves pizza. It was a different angle, using something everyone likes."
So the object of the contest was simple. Eat as many slices of pizza as possible in three minutes. In this contest, you could use your hands. This contest was also geared toward the older kids, with the participants ranging from 7 through 15.
Twenty pizzas The contest drew a huge turnout, with more than 35 kids participating. So Barone purchased 20 pizzas for the contest.
"We thought that having pizza would draw more kids, so we had the 20 pizzas stacked high," Barone said. There was only one obstacle - the appetites of the contestants.
"They didn't eat as much pizza as we expected," Barone said. "We thought that they would eat at least four slices each, especially the older ones. But the max anyone ate was four."
One of those who were thoroughly prepared was 11-year-old Stephen Alicia.
"I love pizza and I was looking forward to it," Alicia said. "I ate nothing all day, because I didn't want to be full. I usually eat a lot of pizza, but that day, I could only eat the two [slices]. I can eat more. I just got full."
Alicia tried the tactic of eating two slices at once to save time and energy, but the strategy backfired.
"I knew people were going to be able to eat a lot, so I wanted to eat fast," Alicia said. "I just got full. It was a big challenge."
Christopher Funes was also looking forward to the contest.
"I love pizza," Funes said. "I never participated in an eating contest before, so I didn't know what to expect. I didn't want to miss this one, because I love pizza so much. I can usually eat two and a half slices." And that is exactly what Funes devoured to capture the 11-to-12 year crown.
"I'm glad I ate the extra half, because there was someone right behind me who ate two," Funes said. "I never thought I would get a trophy for eating pizza. I never thought that could happen. It was really a lot of fun, but I had to go to football practice right after it and I almost got sick while running the dashes. I learned I can't combine football and pizza."
Feeding their faces Even with the quick munching and different techniques, there was a lot of leftover pizza.
"There was so much pizza left over that we ended up feeding the parents there and the entire football team," Barone said. "No question, the kids had fun eating the pizza. We just didn't think they would eat so little of it." Alicia had a better idea.
"If it was a Chinese food contest, I would have eaten more," Alicia said.
"See, they want me to change the menu every year," Barone said. "I think we'll keep pizza another year and see how it goes. Who knows? Maybe we have to go to empanadas in the future."
Rafael Prem was the winner of the age 10 and under bracket, with Jose Arroyo winning the elder group (13 through 15).