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Tribute to Spam™ Cook-Off: "Spamarama"

I remember the days when the popular food-laden channel Food Network aired specials that they don't budge in the time to air anymore. There were a chunk of these that rarely got broadcasted, as the Travel Channel also aired some of these specials. One of them stood out to me: SPAMARAMA—a Spam-based event taking place in Austin, Texas.

The Spam™ Cook-Off was founded by David Arnsberger. While the entrance fee was quite low for the time—$5 per person—it was an all-you-can-eat festival. For the cooks/chefs, it was a fun also somewhat serious competition on whoever can whip the best dish with Spam™ as the secret ingredient. I believe it was a festival with a ton of potential, able to attract non-locals to fly in and check out what the fun is about. I say this since we're still in the social media age and word spreads quickly about big events like this, making it a great place to enjoy a nice, laid-back weekend.

Alright, but the event has stopped being held after the 2007 year. What happened? According to one attendee, the entrance fee increased to $10 which turned off locals and tourists. I couldn't find any other reason as to what more happened but they stopped holding this annual festival in Austin. I love eating Spam™ as much as the next person, and events like these make the perfect reason to visit another state besides reasons related to sports (I'm based in southern California). I'm not sure if this article will do any good, but I sure would love to see this festival back again. I mean, come on, there's no shortage of people interested in food nowadays, so why not?

If the folks behind the festival won't have the energy or resources to re-launch SPAMARAMA, someone else will. I predict this will start a trend: SPAMARAMA re-launches, then festivals dedicated to a particular food or dish will also jump on in and host their own festivals. Granted, there's a ton of food festivals held every year, but this is one of those that reeled me in (chili festivals always get my attention). I'm also certain SPAMARAMA Champion David Spooner will show up as well. If so, I would like an autograph and a picture with him.

A lot of people get tired staying home (I don't), and if you want to give them a reason to go out, experience something new, have a good time and perhaps meet new people and network, festivals like this make the perfect opportunity to do so. Give something that makes people happy—that is, food. There's too much drama, hate and brain-washing in the world as it is, and nothing feels more refreshing than attending a festival that satisfies you through your stomach. Give it another shot: Bring back SPAMARAMA!

(While we don't have a problem linking the official website to ours, the official SPAMARAMA websites don't work anymore. The .com domain does not work and the .org domain is now a Japanese beauty website.)

We here at FOODSOTROS happily provided a full, commercial-free showing of SPAMARAMA: Spam™ Cook-Off to everyone! We did so to share our love and admiration for such a unique festival in hopes of making a comeback:

Food Network Challenge Spam Cook-Off (Spamarama)
Click the image above to watch the entire episode of this rare broadcast exclusively here on KCU + Plus!

FOODSOTROS, SHOWSOTROS and KC Universal Network does not hold any rights and/or copyrights to the production of this video, and was shown for the purposes of entertainment and information. Credits go out to Photofest and National Archives and Records Administration of College Park, MD. Copyright © 2003 by Television Food Network, G.P. All the rights are reserved to them.

Have you attended SPAMARAMA? What was your favorite dish? Would you like to see this festival make a comeback? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

UPDATE (March 15, 2023): We've taken the liberty to re-digitize and upload the entire episode of this rare Food Network broadcast on KCU + Plus! Click here to watch the whole thing upscaled to HD!


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