Smoke on the Water draws nearly 30,000 to riverfrontWritten by Mary Petrides | | email@example.com
Nearly 30,000 people came to Promenade Park for Columbia Gas of Ohio Smoke on the Water — Ribs for the Red Cross July 30 through Aug. 1.
“We brought a great crowd down to Toledo, we raised a lot of money for the Red Cross and in turn that money’s going to help a lot of people in Northwest Ohio, so really, it’s a win-win-win for the people of Northwest Ohio,” said Chris Kozak, communications and community relations manager at Columbia Gas of Ohio, the event’s major sponsor. “I hope everybody had a great time, so that’s a fourth win.”
The Red Cross is still counting this year’s profit, but so far it raised more than last year’s $58,000, Kozak said.
“In this economy, that’s fantastic,” Kozak said. “It also says a lot about the event we put on and the generosity of the people that came up.”
Matt Holowicki won Famous Dave’s Pulled Pork Eating Contest and set a Smoke on the Water record, scarfing down 3 pounds of pork in seven minutes, six seconds. He has been competing in eating contests for five or six years, once eating more than 16 paczkis in 15 minutes.
“It’s rough. It throws your system into some turmoil,” he said. “Your body complains. It lets you know ‘you shouldn’t have done that.’”
Of 10 rib vendors, three took top spots in both People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards.
AJ’s Doolittles in Lambertville took first place in both. P & D’s Sports Page Bar & Grill in Toledo won second place for People’s Choice and third place for Judge’s Choice; Sidelines Sports Eatery and Pub in Lambertville, Mich., won third place in People’s Choice and second place in Judge’s Choice.
Overall, the event was a success, Kozak said: “We had a great time and we’re looking forward to 2011.”