“Rising up to the challenge of our rivals” – Survivor.
Well well well. Life and festivals continued in their craziness after I landed by flight into country 170, the Marshall Islands. ?????On the short walk from our hotel here, Marshall Islands Resort, to the local supermarket, memories floodigated back. Memories of this list of lunatical festivals or events down the years:
– Fireball festival in Nejapa, El Salvador
– Blues Express train and music festival in Zakrzewo, Poland
– 12th July Orange Order marches in Bangor, Northern Ireland
– Beer Festival in Ramallah, Palestine
– Dartford Beer Festival, England
– Fake Oktoberfest in Hong Kong
– Stroking crocodiles in Kachikally, The Gambia
– Feeding hyenas in Harar, Ethiopia
This time, our group from Young Pioneer Tours were heading to a supermarket in Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands at 9.30 a.m. on a Saturday morning to witness a “hot dog festival”!! Yes, seriously mate. So what’s it all about, do ya really wanna know?
What is the Hoffy Hot Dog Festival in Majuro, Marshall Islands?
Once a year, in the capital city, the DUD part of Majuro (in Majuro Atoll) of the Marshall Islands, a local supermarket teams up with hot dog company Hoffy to launch a fun and happy hot dog eating competition.
There are three prizes for the winners, first, second and third. These are gift vouchers as such:
Gold (1st, winner) – 300 USD voucher
Silver (2nd, runner up) – 200 USD voucher
Bronze (3rd, third place) – 100 USD voucher
Where is the Hoffy Hot Dog Festival in Majuro, Marshall Islands held?
It is held in the forecourt in front of Delap main store, part of Island Pride Supermarket in the DUD (Delap, Uliga, Djarrit) city part of the Majuro Atoll on the Marshall Islands.
When is the Hoffy Hot Dog Festival in Majuro, Marshall Islands held?
In 2019, it was held at 10 a.m. on Saturday 3rd August 2019. However it varies each year, it might be the first Saturday of August, but it can also change.
Who can enter the Hoffy Hot Dog Festival in Majuro, Marshall Islands?
Anyone!! Yes even tourists. I could have entered if I wanted!! But of course, myself and an eating competition just don’t go hand in hand. I’ve such a small appetite. Luckily our group leader, Pier, hesitated not and entered. Representing not just himself, but widerly, Young Pioneer Tours and foreigners in the magical Marshall Islands. The cost to enter is $5 US Dollars and includes a free Hoffy Hot Dog Festival T shirt. We supported Pier as the nitty gritty got down to work, or eating dead pig in a roll accompanied by infinite water.
The ten Contestants in the 2019 Annual Hoffy Hot Dog Festival in Majuro were:
So it begins…
9.49 a.m. We arrive about ten minutes early and already a crowd has gathered. The contestants in their yellow Hoffy Hot Dog Festival t shirts saunter around savouring their last sips of free air in their mouths before bread and penis shaped pork products dominate proceedings.
9.55 a.m. The contestants pose for photos, the rules are explained. There are to be three prizes, gold, silver and bronze. Gold and therefore the winner is $300, Silver second $200 and Bronze third $100. The money is gift vouchers, not actual cash. The contestants are in bouyant mood and can drink as much water as they want during the festival. Most of them had nothing for breakfast.
9.57 a.m. There is a final chance for anyone from the crowd to enter. Pier from Young Pioneer Tours takes the initiative and enters to represent us. He had already eaten a full breakfast just an hour earlier, as had all of us. So there were now a total of 10 contestants, all male. Females were of course welcome to enter, but none did. Was this the true meaning of a “sausage fest”? What was also impressive was that they quickly printed a name sheet on Piers desk so all contestants had their names on display and so the madness began at 10 a.m.
10 a.m. The next five minutes are pure madness. All 10 contestants scoff as many hot dogs as they can in a short period of time. Beside each contestant, a judge holds up a piece of paper stating how many hot dogs the person next to them has consumed. Kalepo has 3 scoffed in the first 2 minutes and takes the lead.
10.05 a.m. The madness is over and Kalepo is announced as the winner, eating 5 and three quarters of a hot dog. Apparently he wins it every year and his record was 7. The runner up ate 5 and a bit hot dogs and the third place ate 5.
Despite just having a huge breakfast at our Hotel, Pier still managed to eat 3 full hot dogs in 5 minutes!!
10. 09 a.m. Prizes are given out. The remaining hot dogs and left over water are offered to all spectators so I take one of each. The hot dogs admittedly were not very tasty so to eat 1 was even a struggle for me.
Marshall Islands was not amazingly exciting, though it had much better nightlife than Nauru. Because of this, the Annual Hoffy Hot Dog Festival was my highlight from my time backpacking in the Marshall Islands. I also toured the bars at night, the sights of the DUD contiguous settlement and we spent a day on Eneko Island. Marshall Islands has some really unusual facts such as:
- It is the only UN recognised country without ever having proof of any kind of official national football match being played.
- Despite this, there is actually a very small football league but only space for a few pitches.
- The country uses US Dollars but is funded by the bank of Guam.
- The capital city is not Majuro, it’s actually called DUD (Delap-Uliga-Djarrit) and is comprised of three thin contiguous strips of buildings along one road.
- The capital city is an L shape and looks like this from the air:
- No athlete from the Marshall Islands has ever won a medal at the Olympics.
- In 2018, the Marshall Islands passed a Sovereign Currency Act, which made it the first country to issue their own cryptocurrency and certify it as legal tender; the currency is called the “sovereign”.
- Marshall Islands was once called German Guinea.
Overall though, it was definitely worth a visit and for sure I count it as a real country, it was number 170 on my hitlist.
Here are some videos I took at the Hoffy Hot Dog Festival in DUD, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands: