Philadelphia, PA – Citizens Bank Park was the scene of the third annual Philly Cheesesteak Festival this year. Thousands of Cheesesteak aficionados and fans came out to sample the region’s best steaks and enjoy the friendly family atmosphere. Some forty vendors participated in the day-long event that has become part of the Philly psyche.
The day featured a kids carnival area, music, and live dancing, just to name a few. There was craft beer on hand, and baseball, bases walk for all those that came in. At 2:00 pm, the famed cheesesteak eating competition took place. It’s an event that continues to grow and rival Wing Bowl. That Philadelphia tradition takes place the week of the Super Bowl.
This event was sponsored again by Greek-owned Astra Foods in Upper Darby for the third year in a row. We watched as John Vasiliou, his father Demo, and the Astra Foods team prepped the more than 150 cheesesteaks for the event. “It’s the perfect steak with the perfect roll. I’ve tasted them all. This is the best combo”, said Tony Devincenzo of Astra who worked the line wrapping up steaks for the contest. “Liscio’s Bakery rolls compliment Astra’s high-quality meat and they’re made consistent every time”, added Devincenzo.
In recent years, Liscio’s Bakery has gained much attention in the industry and become a favorite for the thousands of steak shops that serve the Philly classic. As their popularity has risen, they have partnered with Astra Foods and this year are hosting their own booth at the event.
The contest featured 9 male and 1 female participants who chowed down stake after steak for ten minutes. When the final buzzer sounded, a new champion held up the belt from Sacramento California and literally stole the show. Why? Well, not being from Philadelphia probably had something to do with it. But visually, it was even more impressive. Molly Schuyler stood in the shadow of two men nearly three times her size and managed to put them to shame. Looking at Schuyler, we guessed she weighed no more than 105 pounds. Obviously, that didn’t seem to matter to Schuyler. She managed to consume 9 1/2 cheesesteaks, while her nearest competitor only ate 7 1/2. When asked about how she prepared, she responded by saying, she never really had a full cheesesteak. “I also didn’t have anything to eat for the last seven days”, added Schuyler.