Floral City, FL- Floral City's popular conch fritter eating contest, held during their annual Winter Wildflower Festival, ended in tragedy today as 57-year-old winner Murf Lewith died on stage while accepting the first place trophy and gift certificate for a complementary endless salad bar at Ruby Tuesday.
"Murf was a local legend," Floral City resident Angela Burtscamp explained. "He was real popular and always had a smile on his face. How many he'd ate again? 48? Murf sure loved them things! It's how he always said he wanted to go too. With a belly full of conch fritters."
Mort Fishman MD, a local family practitioner who supervised the eating contest said that Mr. Lewith, who worked as a part time birthday clown, was unable to be resuscitated. "I did what I could but it was just Murf's time. He lived a good life and he made children laugh. And he won that contest fair. That's his legacy I reckon."
In response to the tragic death of Mr. Lewith, the Floral City Council of Elders called what was only the third emergency session since the town was first surveyed in 1883 by Senator Austin S. Mann and a magical talking gopher tortoise, as the story goes. The first session, held during World War I, addressed the loss of the phosphorous mining industry in Floral City while a 1986 meeting involved making a blood pact with the demon Andrealphus. This pact, which would ultimately lead to the popularity of the Winter Wildflower Festival, thus saving the town from bankruptcy, required the future sacrifice of one of their own.
The Elders, who have led the people of Floral City for over a century, have decreed that the following safety measures be put into place during future competitive conch fritter eating contests:
1. All participants shall undergo a complete physical exam prior to the contest. This shall include an EKG, echocardiogram, and full complement of labs.
2. All participants shall only be allowed to consume up to 20 conch fritters.
3. Participants shall be required to take breaks from eating that last no less than 5 minutes and occur no less frequent than twice per thirty minute period.
5. There will be a full stoppage of eating at one hour into the competition so that each participant can undergo a complete physical exam, EKG and echocardiogram.
6. The winner of the conch fritter eating competition shall be decided by quality rather than quantity.
It is expected that these measures will bankrupt the town, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Andrealphus.