David Johnson devoured a Key lime pie in under one minute on the Fourth of July as he raced to beat a line of contestants whose faces were coated with the Keys’ signature dessert.
Johnson scarfed down the pie in 58.2 seconds to win the Mile-High Key Lime Pie Eatin’ Contest.
“I wanted to make the biggest mess and make people laugh,” said Johnson, 50, a nurse practitioner in Key West, after the contest, his face smeared with pie residue.. “I can’t eat a lot of food but I can eat really fast. And I like pie.”
This contest got down and dirty. And sticky.
Contestants couldn’t use their hands, and no dumping the 9-inch pies out of their tins, according to the rules.
The contest was so messy, many eaters wore goggles.
Johnson, a New York native and an 18-year resident of Key West, also wows crowds by walking on stilts and costuming at local events.
Johnson said he can eat fast because for years he was an emergency room nurse.
“I slurped it down,” he said of his pie-eating technique. “I went to go make a mess and didn’t think I was even going to win.”
The pie-eating contest was just the start of the 2019 Key Lime Festival, which has events scheduled through Sunday that include pie history lessons, a scavenger hunt, a cocktail tasting and a pie tour of Key West.
On Saturday, the Key lime Pie Drop competition is set for the Key West Lighthouse. Creativity and a light touch are the keys to winning this one.
Contestants must find a way to drop a pie from the top of the lighthouse without damaging the pie as it hits the ground.
On Sunday, you can spend $30 to take a sampling tour of Key West’s Key lime pies with stops at five pie providers.
Johnson admits Key lime isn’t his favorite pie.
“Although I kind of have a craving for it today, which is weird,” he said Friday.