Looking at the petite, 100-pound, Asian “Black Widow,” one would never assume she could do so much damage when it comes to eating. But don’t judge this book by her cover.
At just 5-foot, 5 inches, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas has taken the world by storm with her unassuming ability to devour food, landing her as the fourth ranked eater and No. 1 female eater in the world.
She and other top-ranked, major league eaters will be in Akron at Lock 3, Aug. 18 and 19 for the National Hamburger-Eating Championship at the Seventh Annual National Hamburger Festival in Akron.
Attendees can expect entertainment and one of the largest assortments of hamburgers imaginable, as more than 20 different eateries will serve 50 different styles of burgers.
When asked about her name, the “Black Widow” said, “Like the female black widow spider, it is my desire to eliminate the males. In competitive eating I want to eat more, or faster, than the men. I want to make boys out of them.”
Akron firefighter and reigning title-holder, Matt Askea, will take the widow on in this gastronomic battle.
“The contest at this year’s festival will be at a whole new level with professionals including Sonya. She ate 45 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes on the 4th of July at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Championship,” Alexis Schneider, with Major League Eating, said.
There also will be a 10-minute all-you-can-eat contest for competitors 18 and older (amateurs are welcome), Aug. 19, at 3:30 p.m. The prize is $1,500, and registration is open at www.ifoce.com/contests.
Organizers cite a number of new features for this year's festival. “What’s exciting is we have professional eaters coming in, and Sonya is going to eat against five local media personalities," said Drew Cerza, president and CEO of Just Wing It Productions in New York. "It’s going to be her against the total of the five media personalities, which will be a lot of fun.
“Sunday is going to be a really big event, and Sonya is going to compete against other major league eaters around the country,” he continued.
In addition, the city's very own Akron Police and Fire departments will join in on the festivities.
“We’re going to have some fun with the Akron Police and Akron Fire departments," Cerza said. "They come to the festival every year and provide security. They’re very personable guys, always talking to folks, so we thought it would be nice to pay homage to the police and firemen over there at work."
So, they will participate in their first “Bobbing for Burgers Competition."
“We’re going to fill a kitty pool with ketchup and put about 30 burgers in the ketchup. They get to wear goggles but have to pull out as many burgers with their teeth as they can,” Cerza explained.
Proceeds raised will be donated to the Akron Children’s Hospital.
Lock 3 is located at 200 S. Main St. in downtown Akron. For more information, visit www.hamburgerfestival.com.
Aug. 18 – National Hamburger Festival: noon to 11 p.m.
Sonya Thomas vs. Media Competitive Eating: 6:30 p.m.
Aug. 19 – National Hamburger Festival: noon to 11 p.m.
National Hamburger Eating Championship: 3:30 p.m.