The 12th Annual Cannoli Eating Competition, sanctioned by The International Federation of Competitive Eaters, was held last night at the San Gennaro Festival.

Little Italy relic/icon Ferrara Bakery ("America's First Espresso Bar. Since 1892") supplied all the cannoli, some 300 pastries in all, enough so that even if all seven contestants broke the Official World Record of 32 cannoli eaten in 6 minutes, there's still be plenty left over.

The crowd was lively and surprisingly large considering the downpour that hit about an hour before the eating began, and appropriately grossed out by the proceedings... though apparently not too disgusted to turn down the free "leftover" cannoli handed out on platters immediately following the carnage on stage.

The six contestants and their totals:
- Chrysilla Dimitrou, who looked on the verge on throwing up for most of the 6 minutes: 3
- Suzie Firecracker, an Upper West Sider who told me she also competed here in 2005: 4
- Jessica Lawrence, NYU student: 6
- Crazy Legs Conti, competitive eater with twirly handlebar mustache: 20
- Eric "Badlands" Booker, the subway conductor/competitive eater who performed a rap song on stage about cannoli before the competition began: 28 for third place honors
- Marcos Owens: 31, second place
- Yasir Salem: 31.25, the winner who just missed the record of 32

The contestants were allowed to drink as much beverage as they wanted (most chose water, though Eric Booker opted for hot coffee) but they couldn't dunk the cannoli into the liquid, the way they can at Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. In this competition, the "mixing" was performed in their mouths. The whole thing was extremely revolting, and those of us in the front row got sprayed more than once with... I don't even want to think about it.