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Chowing Down On Fun

If you go to Brazil and order a hot dog, they say you can only eat one.

     Maybe that gave the Brazilian Henrique Santana an edge in the hot dog eating contest held Saturday during the Founder’s Day celebration in Wesson. Santana managed to ingest six hot dogs in seven minutes, beating out nine other competitors.

     Well, he tied a fellow competitor, but a tie-breaking spin on a numbered wheel gave the victory to Santana, who came to the United States to play soccer at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

     In Brazil, no one takes a stingy attitude about hot dogs. They come loaded with mashed potatoes, corn, cheese, mayonnaise and ketchup, with other toppings possible.

     “It’s huge,” Santana said. “It’s not like here.”

     There was no cost for participation in the competitive-eating event, and the promise of free food lured Santana in. Afterward, though, he vowed he’d had enough of food for a while – free or not.

     “Weeks. I don’t want to eat for weeks,” said Santana, holding his stomach for emphasis.

     Santana approached the event as a something of a tourist.

     “We don’t have games like this in Brazil,” he said. “I’ve just seen it on TV.”

     A friend, Antonio Pereira, also participated in the chow-down challenge and came in close behind Santana with five hot dogs.

     Though a champion in Wesson, Santana’s probably not ready for the professional competitive-eating circuit. In a 2011 event, reigning champion Joey Chestnut ate 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

     Competitive eating was a new attraction for Founder’s Day, a chamber of commerce hosted event in its 23rd year.

     Saturday’s crowd was average, said Chamber of Commerce Vice President Marilynn Britt, with the Kids Fun Zone, featuring inflatable attraction, proving particularly popular.

     Beverly King was also able to join Santana in claiming the title of “champion” Saturday. King earned the Best in Show award at the Wesson Flower Show.

     Her winning entry was an illuminated display of tropical flowers. It received the blue ribbon in its category, creative design, before taking the top prize.

     King is more concerned about the fortunes of the flower club than her entries, though.

     “We’re trying to revive the garden club,” King said.

     Saturday’s flower show was a significant step toward revival, as it was the first show hosted by the Garden Club in 14 years.

     King credits her mother with planting a passion for flowers in her daughter.

     “When she went on a trip, guess who had to water her flowers,” said King.