Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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June 12, 2010

‘Salsaville’ breaks record

City wins Guinness acclaim at 26th Tomato Fest

JACKSONVILLE — It’s official!

Jacksonville now holds yet another claim to fame — the Guinness World Record for the biggest bowl of salsa ever.

The 2,672-pound bowl of the hot stuff took more than seven-and-a-half hours to complete by approximately 20 volunteer choppers and Bob Blumer, host of Food Network Canada’s “Glutton for Punishment.”

“I’ve always loved salsa, but I love it more now,” Blumer said, shortly after the record was official. “Early in the year we decided to do this, and we decided to do it in Jacksonville because we heard they have great tomatoes.”

Blumer said it was difficult to keep a little bit of doubt the record would be broken from creeping in during the day.

“There were a few times when I felt like everything might not get chopped,” he said. “But we got it done.”

Blumer and a crew for the show arrived in Jacksonville Tuesday to begin filming an upcoming episode of “Glutton.”

Beginning with Blumer’s explanation of the attempt on the top of the Tomato Bowl steps to Saturday’s culmination with confirmation from a Guinness official that the record had been broken, the crew filmed Jacksonville for the episode to be aired at some point in the future on Food Network Canada and other networks in the U.S. and Canada.

As part of season five, the shattered record is one of six Blumer will attempt to break.

“Six times this, all over again,” Blumer said of his goal for season five. “It’s going to be crazy>

Blumer and his crew made several stops around town to sample the local flavor, including a trip to Super Gallo for some salsa-making tips and a chop practice in anticipation of Saturday’s event.

They were also the guests of honor at Friday night’s Tomato Ball, at which Mayor Robert Haberle read a proclamation from himself and the Jacksonville City Council which changed the name of the city to “Salsaville” for 24 hours, beginning at midnight Saturday.

Glenda Ross, volunteer onion chopper, said being part of breaking the world record was a fun experience for her.

“We wanted to be a part of helping Jacksonville make history and we wanted to help put Jacksonville back on the top of the tomato capital of the world map,” she said. “We started (chopping) just before 10 (a.m.) this morning and I stopped for about 15 minutes for lunch.  I chopped onions for most of the day and then started chopping tomatoes.

“This has been a fun and interesting experience. Bob (Blumer) has brought a lot of personality to this and has made this a fun event for the town; he knows what he is doing.”

Meredith Watson, Ross’ friend, said being a chopper wasn’t an easy task.

“The hardest part of  the job was the heat and standing for a long period of time, but it has been fun to get involved with the community,” she said. “I think this will be something I always will remember.”

She added the people involved with the event helped to make it such a success.

“Everybody out here has been great,” Watson said. “They have been fun to work with and they have pulled together and worked well together to be able to pull this off.”

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