FAYETTEVILLE — A rush of hungry munchers at the end of last weekend’s Northwest Arkansas Cheese Dip Classic helped push attendance toward the 1,000 mark, making it a success for a first-time event, said John McClure, the festival’s founder and owner of Little Rock-based Arkansas Convention & Event Marketing Inc.
The event, held at the Washington County Fairgrounds on Cinco De Mayo (May 5), drew the most creative of chefs and the most critical of judges. Sixteen teams competed as professionals or paired in teams of Greeks — sororities with fraternities.
In the professional division, the judges favored Qdoba Mexican Grill’s “Warm Three-cheese Queso.” The crowd picked Legacy Blues as the People’s Choice Award winner. The duo of Pi Beta Phi/Phi Delta Theta was picked as having the best cheese dip and received the Greek People’s Choice Award.
Some 50 festivalgoers threw their names in a hat to participate in the event’s Cheese Dip Chowdown. Among the five names drawn, apparently there was only one real competitor, Andrew Coppola, who scarfed down 4 pounds of cheese dip in just three minutes.
“He cleaned the bowl out,” McClure said, laying an emphasis on the “out.”
The cheese dip classic was followed by the first-ever Foam Fest, a beer-sampling event, also held at the fairgrounds (perhaps this explains the rush at the end).
The professional winner of the cheese dip contest received, among other things, the opportunity to represent Northwest Arkansas in the third annual World Cheese Dip Championship on Oct. 20 in Little Rock.
Proceeds will benefit the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas.