Indulging in a cornucopia of food and drink from 100-plus vendors is part of the experience at the California State Fair. That, and riding the Ferris wheel.
When it comes to overindulging in a competitive way, fair officials have that covered, too. Dozens of food-lovers, foodies, professional eaters and just plain good sports will compete in three timed (and entertaining) eating contests. All events will be on the Promenade Stage.
Big Rib Throwdown: This year's big-buzz fair-food item will be the Big Rib - two pounds of prime beef attached to a 17-inch-long cow's rib. How much of it can one person eat? Find out at 1 p.m. on opening day (July 12). A lineup of Sacramento media personalities (including Bee food and wine writer Chris Macias) will indulge in a literal "feeding frenzy."
Hooters Wing-Eating: The restaurant chain will supply its own "top major-league eaters" for this event. They will be in competition for a spot in the Hooters World Wing-Eating Championship in New York City in late July, for a $15,000 purse. The state fair competition is the final preliminary before the nationals, and is worth $1,000 to the winner. The eaters will get down to business at 6 p.m. July 14.
Corn Dog Countdown: Much more casual is the fair's invitation to "anyone who is hungry to become a part of California's corn dog history." Register at www.bigfun.org and try to beat the previous record of downing 15 corn dogs in seven minutes. The preliminary round is at 5 p.m. July 20, with finals at 4 p.m. July 21.
The California State Fair runs July 12-July 29 at Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Sundays.
Admission: $12 general, $10 ages 62-plus, $8 children 5-12, free for children under 4. Parking is $10. Information: www.bigfun.org.