This weekend, it’s okay to play with your food. In honor of National Bagel Day on January 15th, someone will be crowned New York City’s bagel-rolling champion and bagel-eating champion at the BagelFest Winter Games in Brooklyn! This event will feature a full day of doughy activities including games like a bagel version of Connect 4, a bagel toss game, and a bagel rolling contest. There will also, of course, be plenty of bagel samples to taste from vendors around the city.

BagelFest connect 4 game
Photo by Steven Avalos, Courtesy of BagelFest

BagelFest was founded in 2017 by Sam Silverman, a self-proclaimed bagel expert. “I looked up ‘NYC bagel festival’ because it was an event I wanted to go to, and made a shocking discovery: New York City had never held a bagel festival,” Silverman told Untapped New York, “It seemed crazy to me that in a city with festivals for pretty much everything, there’d never been one to celebrate its most iconic food.”

“With that epiphany, my vision for BagelFest was born,” Silverman says, “Fast forward 5 years, and we’ve thrown three BagelFests for several thousands of people and the best bagel and bagel-adjacent vendors from all over the world.” In addition to running BagelFest, Silverman also leads an NYC Bagel Tour, writes a bagel newsletter, and shares his love for and knowledge of bagels and bagel makers on social media. His bagel order? “Everything bagel, scallion cream cheese, not toasted,” he told us, “People get hung up on the ‘not toasted’ part, but you should never have to toast a fresh bagel, which is the standard in New York City.”

BagelFest bagel flight
Photo by Sam Silverman Courtesy of BagelFest

At the BagelFest WinterGames, many local bagel stores will be represented. New York’s iconic Bagel Boss, established in 1975, will supply the bagels for the competitions. There will also be a flight of 5 unique mini-bagel sandwiches and topping combinations from the legendary Acme Smoked Fish, Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish, Utopia Bagels, and Bagel Point that each guest can indulge in.

The event kicks off at 10:00 AM with the “Lighting of the Bagel Torch” Ceremony. Things really get rolling (couldn’t help it) with bagel toss, bagel stacking, bagel curling, and bagel rolling games that guests can take part in competitively or just for fun. In the bagel rolling contest, the winner is the first person to roll 100 bagels. The grand finale will be the bagel eating contest at 1:15pm. The winner will receive a $500 cash prize! “I’ve always wondered how many bagels a person could eat in one sitting (my personal best is 7),” Silverman told Untapped New York, “Now we’ll finally learn the answer. My bet is a dozen or more!” You can register for these competitive events on the BagelFest website.

Photo by Steven Avalos, Courtesy of BagelFest

BagelFest will take place on Sunday, January 15, 2023, from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM EDT at BKLYN Studios at City Point. If you’re an Untapped New York Insider, you can save 20% on your ticket with an exclusive discount code available on the Insiders Facebook page or in the forthcoming Insiders newsletter.

Next, check out NYC Fun Facts: The History of the Bagel and The Notorious NYC Bagel Famines