Contests & records

In 1946, jitney driver Izzy Weintraub of Atlantic City and
Catherine Hollis of Chester, Pa., ate cherrystone clams at the
Atlantic City annual clam-eating contest. In 20 minutes, Izzy ate
96 and Catherine 66.

In 1947,  Edna Lamb, a professional oyster opener from
Maurice River, N.J., won the U.S. clam-eating championship by
downing 186 cherrystones in 30 minutes.

Ivar Haglund, Seattle character, folksinger, and restaurateur was known as "King of the Waterfront," and also "Mayor" and "Patriarch" of the waterfront. He began as a folksinger, and in 1938 established Seattle's first aquarium at Pier
54, along with a fish-and-chips stand. 

In 1946 Ivar established the renowned "Acres of Clams" restaurant. By 1965,
when he began lofting fireworks over Elliott Bay -- Fourth of Jul-Ivar -- he was a
legend. He became a radio personality and Puget Sound's principal champion of
regional folk music.

In 1976, Ivar bought Smith Tower, dedicated in 1914 as the tallest building west of the Mississippi. His escapades, publicity stunts, pronouncements, pranks, and his excellent restaurants have entered into Seattle's unique character as a city. Ivar Haglund died on January 30, 1985. (from

In 1948, a clam eating contest was held at Ivar's restaurant  on the Seattle waterfront. The winner was Richard Watson, a Seattle cabdriver, who gulped down 110 clams in 10 minutes and became the first ever IPFSACECA (The

International Pacific Free Style Amateur Clam Eating Contest Association) World Champion Clam Eater. No sooner had Watson been crowned world champ than someone yelled "FOUL!" Ivar was shocked. "Who could possibly impugn the integrity of the IPFSACECA? We've only had one contest," he said, "and besides we make up our own rules."

The grievance came from Massachusetts, of all places, and came from a truck driver named Joe Silva. "Your boy," Joe claimed, "cannot possibly be the Clam Eating Champion of the world until he defends his title against the East Coast Champion, namely me."

Ivar carefully considered the situation. Two clam eating champions? Competing in Seattle for the world title? This was too good to be true. After deliberating for a good two or three seconds, he accepted the challenge. The stage was set for the great East versus West Clam Eat Off of 1948.

The great East vs. West Clam Eat Off of 1948 ended in victory for Watson. He is shown here receiving the coveted title crown from Ivar and congratulations from East Coast challenger Joe Silva.

One major claim to fame of Michael N. Marcus, your humble Clam Master, is the consumption of 12 dozen (appropriately also known as a "gross") of the delicious fire-roasted "specials" at The Place in Guilford CT. 

This is Michael's personal best, and so far no one has claimed to have beaten Michael's record.

The highlight of the Highlands NJ 2004 Clamfest was a new tradition, a clam eating contest. A dozen people stood around a table, in Huddy

Park, each next to a five-gallon bucket filled with steamed clams. Within
a 5 minute period, Middletown resident Michael Poss won with 101 clams
eaten, to claim the title of Mr. Clam Fest 2004. Monroe Township's
Donna Dalia ate 100 clams and came in second. She vowed to be back
to win the title in 2005. We don't know if she did.

This is the clam eating contest held on Pier 54 in Seattle in 1970. We don't know who ate what, but Number Five looks like the champ. The sign at left says: "Welcome to Clam Eaters From Japan, Canada, Caribbean, Germany & Pacific Northwest - Keep Cool, Keep Clam."

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