The lutefisk eating contest at the Ballard SeafoodFest is always quite the show.
The crowd cheers for the lutefisk-eating contestants.
Ten lucky contestants pulled up a chair on Saturday afternoon to compete in five rounds of the fishy speed-eating with hopes of winning cash – $50 for third place, $150 for second place and $250 for first place.
Before the contest, emcee Tim Hunter explained the rules – hands must be on your lap until Hunter yells “go!” and you must eat and swallow your entire serving. “I don’t care how it goes down your pie hole, but it has to go all the way down,” Hunter told the contestants.
The lutefisk is carefully measured before each round.
During the first round, contestants ate a half pound of the traditional Norwegian fare, but the portions kept getting larger. Finalists had to stuff a full pound of lutefisk in to win the grand prize.
After each round, the slowest eaters were eliminated. David Brazzle (above), a novice lutefisk eater, sat down at the table not knowing what to expect. He had never tried lutefisk before today. “The big chunks were the worst part,” Brazzle tells us after his third round elimination.
In the final round, a father and son duo went head-to-head. Sam Sacharoff, the son, came in second place last year and was here to take home the $250. His strategy this year was a little different than last year’s. “I didn’t try necessarily to be the ‘winner’ in the first few rounds because i know they try to torture you towards the end,” Sam says, “I wasn’t anticipating 3 1/4 pounds, though, that’s a lot.” His dad, Ira Sacharoff, competed 17 years ago when things were a little different. “They weren’t serving a half pound at a time back then, it was just a monstrous glob and after awhile I started to taste it and just gave up,” he says.
In the end, the younger Sacharoff walked away with the grand prize – and the bragging rights. Here’s the video…