Monday night while many sports fans were watching Monday Night Football, the real action was unfolding in Independence. At the beautiful Winnedumah Hotel, fans of the Fruitcake kicked off the third annual Independence Fruitcake Festival.
Those that have never attended a Fruitcake Festival before might ask, are they serious? The answer?, no, not really. But thats a good thing.
Laughter was the common theme of the evening as the standing room only crowd gathered to celebrate the love/hate relationship with these traditional and dense baked goods.
A loud party atmosphere, kept upbeat by the bluegrass tunes of the Indy Fruit and Nut Pickers, drank both leaded and unleaded eggnog as the MC, Nancy Masters crowned the king of the Fruitcake Festival. Former reporter, Jon Klusmire was proclaimed fruitcake king for life at the first festival. He described this years coronation as disturbing.
If you are what you eat, these fruitcakes must contain a healthy portion of nuts. This not something that festival goers are ashamed of, many wore t-shirts that read nuts about fruitcake.
Most fruitcakes came from local bakers, though one came from Azerbaijan in Central Asia and another still came from Keeler.
As the leaded eggnog started to kick in, the Fruitcake judges left the room to sample the many different cakes that people brought in for the competition. Endurance and fortitude were required as Judge Dean Stout, Joseph Andrews, and Geologist Jim tasted their way through the spread.
Awards went out in various categories. The oldest fruitcake of the evening was submitted by Mary Roper. This fruitcake came out of Vietnam era MRE, the bagged rations for soldiers. The final act of the Fruitcake festival was the traditional flinging of the fruitcake. Participants lined up on the street out side of the Winnedumah to see who could throw a fruitcake the farthest. Who won the flinging contest and what they received for their efforts was unclear, but the sound of fruitcake hitting the pavement (a distinct thud,) was yet one more unique experience at this unique event.