Twinkies Festival highlights one of America's favorite snacks

Golden-brown, cream-filled deliciousness was enjoyed by hundreds of people attending the second annual Twinkies Festival at Flinthills Mall on Saturday.

Twinkies were celebrated in song and costume.

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They were adored through different recipes. And they were devoured in eating contests. Six-year-old Caleb Jimenez chowed down five Twinkies in all of 93 seconds. Jimenez is a man of few words and a legendary appetite.

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Morgan Baker took second with Ahmad Scott third. In the adult category, Robert Baker took first, downing 10 Twinkies in one minute, 32 seconds. Stephen Cole was second and Chris Rhoads finished third.

In the song contest, Vivian Prose won with her spinoff of "You Are My Sunshine," while Suzanne Worthen-Miller was second. For costumes, Danny Sanchez took first, followed by Morgan Baker and Halie Baker. For recipes, Tia Grundleger's Twinkiemisu took top honors, followed by Rachael Richardson's Twinkie fruit dream and Marla Frye's "trifling Twinkie."

Organizer Jose Feliciano says the Twinkie and the re-emergence of Hostess are worth celebrating.

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Hostess donated most of the product involved in the Twinkies Festival. Regional Vice President of Human Resources Matt Hall said the company wants to keep investing in the Emporia area.

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As mentioned Friday, Hostess has already installed $30 million worth of improvements the past six months with a new auto bake line and a new warehouse. A second, $20 million auto bake line will be added early next year. By the third annual Twinkies Festival next year, the Emporia plant could be producing half a billion snack cakes per year.

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