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Photos: The Big Eat was the weekend's best culinary bash

There were plenty of frivolous amusements to keep us occupied over the holiday weekend, but the Big Eat, EatDenver's annual food orgy at Union Station, was definitely a bash to remember. "It was fantastic, everyone had so much fun, and the chefs really brought their game," says Elizabeth Woessner, executive director of EatDenver, a network of independent restaurants that promotes local dining.

The sold-out soiree, which trumpeted more than three dozen participating restaurants, beers and wines from local breweries, cocktails from Colorado distillers, food trucks, a carnival of circus acts, live music and a down-and-dirty sausage-eating contest, raised funds to support the programs of EatDenver, including EatDenver Serves Schools, the philanthropic arm of the organization that pairs EatDenver chefs with Denver public schools to build vegetable gardens. "Apart from promoting local restaurants, we have a relationship with Slow Food Denver, and we partner with local schools to emphasize the importance of growing gardens and preparing healthy meals for kids," explains Woessner.

If you missed out on this year's Big Eat, there's always next year. In the meantime, we brought back snapshots of this year's bash, some of which are on the following page. And you can see the rest of our photos by taking a culinary voyage through our slide show.

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Circus entertainers kept the crowds amused with their hula-hoop theatrics. Euclid Hall, which slung sausages (naturally), paired with pickles and housemade mustards, bedecked their table with an irreverent display, including the infamous heisted pig from last year's Big Eat. Carnitas quesadillas from Second Home Kitchen + Bar. Caprese salad with tomato foam from Barolo Grill. Molecular magician Ian Kleinman and sausage warrior Mark DeNittis chest-bumped before the spirited sausage competition, which neither won, although DeNittis did everything he could, including sinking his sausages in beer, to emerge victorious. Kleinman, on the other hand, popped his head below the table during the final count, only to emerge sheepishly with a hidden stash. The kitchen crew at Panzano served a confit of rabbit with gnocchi. The clan from Jonesy's EatBar poured mustache-ringed ruby cocktails concocted with Bookcliff's Blushing Beauty rosé, Downslope vanilla rum and Leopold's peach and blackberry liqueurs.

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