GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- If we're talking Fat Tuesday, you might as well go all out, right? 12 high school students from West Catholic, Comstock Park, and Kenowa Hills high schools think so.
The annual paczki-eating contest at Plumb's grocery store in Alpine Township forced them to shove in five paczik in five minutes -- or at least try to.
"I just ate the outside because I didn't like the cream, then watered it down," said Rene' Salazar of Kenowa Hills.
"I feel on top of my game. I was taking it seriously at first, then I started slowing down when I got down to the last couple of them," said Nick Walters of West Catholic.
Just as they were coming off the sugar high, the gumbo competition was heating up at the Mardi Gras Celebration in downtown Grand Rapids.
"We spent four days on our gumbo, day alone on the roux," said Jeremy Britt with Grand Rapids Brewing Co.
"You're really try to stick to the traditional classic gumbos with a dark roux, andouille, as well as the seafood and tomatoes," said Chris Simpson with Fifth Third Ballpark of his recipe.
All of this is new to Wendy Rickson of Spring Lake. This is her first Mardi Gras celebration ever.
"We were over at the gumbo thing, and now I'm expecting to cool my mouth down," she said.
Just as important as the food to Mardi Gras is the music. And the Calder City Street Stompers trekked to ten downtown restaurants to jazz up the crowds.
"We love to make people smile. You can't look at a Dixieland band like this and not have some kind of happy feelings," said band member Shannon Hughes.
So we've covered the paczki and gumbo competitions. Turns out, there was one more competition people showed up for.
"Tonight we're here to watch Michigan-Michigan State," said Pam Nolta.
Louis Benton Steakhouse won the gumbo contest at the B.O.B.
The Kenowa Hills High School students ate the most paczki in five minutes to win their competition.