This is the second time that food ideas submitted by fans will find their way onto the Fifth Third Ballpark menu, following last season's contest that resulted in the addition of the Cudighi Yooper Sandwich and the Declaration of Indigestion.
"This contest, and the resulting unique menu items, has been a lot of fun for the fans," Whitecaps President Scott Lane said. "Who other than a true Yooper could come up with a sandwich using Cudighi sausage, which is native to the U.P? More than anything, I love to stand on the concourse and listen to the buzz that the Cudighi and the Declaration of Indigestion create amongst Whitecaps fans. I look forward to some wild new ideas for 2011."
Last year's contest generated more than 23,000 votes, with the Cudighi Yooper Sandwich and the Declaration of Indigestion finishing in first and second with only two votes separating them.
In addition to last year's winning items, some of the more unique concessions items served in the past include Deep-Fried Twinkies, Caesar Salads, Deep-Fried Pepsi, Apple Cider Floats and the Fifth Third Burger, which garnered international attention with its debut in 2009 and will remain on the menu in 2011.
Whitecaps Director of Marketing Mickey Graham said the idea for the contest came from the popularity of the giant Fifth Third Burger.
"The Fifth Third Burger was originally meant to be an item served in our suites that a group of people could cut up and eat like a pizza," Graham said. "But it generated so much buzz that we decided to serve it in a concession stand and offer the Fifth Third Burger Challenge eating contest. The burger was such a phenomenal success, selling more than 3,200 burgers and crowning 485 challenge champions in two seasons, that fans are more interested than ever in the creativity of our menu items."
The Fifth Third Burger was featured on a ballpark fare episode of The Travel Channel's "Man v. Food" in 2009 and will be included in this week's episode of the Food Network's "Unwrapped" show, airing at 9 p.m. on Jan. 22.
Ideas for new items will be taken through February 3. Submissions can be made through the Whitecaps facebook page (facebook.com/wmwcaps), the Whitecaps Twitter page (twitter.com/wmwhitecaps) or via e-mail at email@example.com. All submissions should be accompanied with a description and a picture, if possible.
The food idea submissions will be whittled down to approximately 10 finalists, and starting February 22 fans will be able to vote for their choice on the new 2011 concessions items. Voting will take place on the Whitecaps website, whitecapsbaseball.com, and will end March 4. The winning entry will be on the menu for all fans to enjoy.
The Whitecaps open the 2011 home season on Sunday, April 10 against the Lansing Lugnuts at 1 pm. Season and group tickets are now on sale; individual tickets for the 2011 season will go on sale later this month. Complete ticket information, including season and group ticket prices and perks, is available at whitecapsbaseball.com.