It’s the season of fruitcake

Published 3:43 pm Saturday, November 28, 2009

It’s like getting socks for Christmas, or that Christmas song you can’t stand playing on every station of the radio, or a coal-filled stocking.

Fruitcake is something everyone makes fun of, but no one tries.

It’s so awful that no one buys it even for a gag gift because doing so would just be mean.

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At least, that’s the perception I get.

This year, I suddenly have fruitcake on the brain.

It all started with a press release I received a few weeks ago.

It came from the Spencer County Visitors Bureau located in Indiana.

Spencer County is home to the town of Santa Claus and to the Santa Claus Christmas Celebration that includes, of course, a fruitcake-eating contest.

The contest kicked off the Saturday before Thanksgiving and will be held every Saturday up until Christmas.

The top three finishers each week will then be invited to compete in the final contest to decide the grand champion of fruitcake eating.

“You always hear about fruitcake being passed around and nobody wanting it,” says Melissa Wilkinson, of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau. “We found an amazing delicious fruitcake so it makes it even more appealing.”

The fruitcakes are Grandma’s Fruitcakes from the Beatrice Bakery Co. in Beatrice, Neb., and Wilkinson says the contest drew about a dozen contestants its first week.

Other contests held during the celebration include the fastest Christmas Tree decorating, fastest gift wrapping and the fastest gingerbread house building. More than $2,000 in prizes will be awarded throughout the celebration.

“I think it’s amazing here,” Wilkinson said of the Christmas spirit.

Wilkinson, who doesn’t like nuts, says she’ll pass on the fruitcake event, but may enter some of the other contests.

The celebration is put on by a non-profit organization called America’s Christmas Hometown, with the visitors bureau handling the marketing.

It’s probably easy to get into the holiday mood in a town named Santa Claus and perhaps in a town like that even fruitcake tastes a little bit sweeter.

After all, the town is home to street names like Ornament Lane and Kringle Drive and home to the Holiday World Theme Park.

The folks at the visitors bureau, at least during the holidays, even answer the phone, “Merry Christmas.”

And Wilkinson says she plays Christmas music all-year long.

“It is by far (my favorite holiday),” she says.

Right after Thanksgiving, I made myself a long “to do” list of things I need to get done this holiday season, and as of now I’ve added one more — visit Santa Claus, Ind.

Maybe they’ll even let me enter their contest.