East Texas Town Seeks World Record For the Biggest Bowl of Salsa; Chips May Be In Short Supply

Jacksonsville, the tiny Cherokee County town that 1930s Wall Street traders used to ring up when they needed to know the price of tomatoes, is taking aim at the world record for the biggest bowl of salsa this weekend.

"We're going to make 2000 pounds," says Chamber of Commerce president Peggy Renfro. "There's going to be a lot of chopping going on."

Food Network Canada host Bob Blumer -- whose shtick involves attempting seemingly impossible culinary feats, such as running a Parisian restaurant single-handedly - dreamt up the world record assault for Jacksonville's 26th annual Tomato Fest. Renfro reports Blumer's already in Jacksonville, checking out the field where the salsa-bound tomatoes are growing and making friends with a local barber who sells tomatoes from his window.

"We're going to have a ball," she says.

The salsa will be prepared by 35 volunteers, mixed in a specially-designed container and given away after the 2000-pound mark's reached. Asked whether Jacksonville's Guinness-oriented citizens were ready for a week of eating salsa, Renfro said "I believe so."

In addition to the world record attempt, Saturday's festivities will include a tomato eating contest, tomato mashing contest and a tomato peeling contest, in which children have to remove a tomato's skin using only their teeth. There's also a gospel concert, a street dance - "we have the only Chili's in the entire United States that hosts a street dance," Renfro says - and a salsa contest, which perhaps should have been held before Blumer's team began dicing 2000 jalapeno peppers for the world record vat.

"We do need to know who makes the best salsa," Renfro muses.
And after Saturday, Renfro hopes, the world will know who makes the most of it.

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