050 – BONUS! Charlottesville Pie Fest 2016
Charlottesville Pie Fest is coming! Are you ready? In this BONUS episode we talk about this beloved competition that has occurred semi-annually in the Fall since 2009 to help area charities. This year’s beneficiary is the Crozet United Methodist Church Food Pantry, a feeder for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Meet Brian J. Geiger and Marijean Oldham, Pie Fest founders and aficionados.
Pie Fest began with the Pie Down. Back in 2008 during Twitter’s infancy, someone innocently asked who made the best pie in Charlottesville. Marijean, of Jaggers Communications, insisted she did and Brian, The Food Geek, countered his was better. Within minutes judges volunteered and a contest was born. Which morphed into a Charlottesville pie revolution and a true grass-roots community event because the contest happened with only 10 days preparation and almost 100 people attended. Who won? You’ll have to listen to find out!
Both founders have deep food and pie backgrounds. Brian’s site, sadly in semi-retirement, covers the science behind food and Marijean is well-known around town for holiday pies she makes for friends as well as the classes she teaches for the pie-shy. Her Butterscotch Pecan Pie is insanely good. As a matter of fact, when The Pie Chest opened (owner Rachel Pennington will be a judge) folks called to ask if it was Marijean’s new store!
To participate, register your pie at the website and arrive between 10am and noon with TWO pies in hand. One will be for judging, the other will be entered into the silent auction. Not sure of your skills? Bring one exhibition pie for the auction and skip the judging. The best pies receive fabulous prizes! And it’s not all sweet pies. Enter your savory pie, quiche, cheesecake or even fried hand pies. All rules and categories are on the website but for the most part this is a pie-inclusive competition. All are welcome at this pie stand! You don’t even have to use your own recipe, so go ahead and dig in grandma’s stash or grab an old issue of Garden and Gun magazine. Even store-bought crust is okay, although homemade usually rates higher in judging. This contest is all about execution and taste so believe in yourself and put on that apron!
Pie shy? No worries, you can purchase three tastings for $5. Plus live music by The University of Whales! No pie-eating contest here because the founders feel it disrespects the pie and the baker who put forth so much effort to create such a terrific treat. And it’s kind of messy.
This is a popular event with folks coming from as far as North Carolina to participate. Attendees often talk for months sometimes years, about special pies they tasted at previous festivals. I still remember the caramel green tomato pie I won at silent auction back in 2010 baked by blogger Elena Brent Rosemond-Hoerr. Yum. Pie contests and pie festivals are quickly becoming extinct with even the Virginia State Fair eliminating their contest. So the one in Charlottesville is it people! Don’t miss it! In this episode there’s a little trash talk, more pie discussion than you’ll ever need, and lots of laughter. Enjoy. See you at pie fest this Sunday!
We’re looking for prizes and sponsors! Interested? Tweet me @edaciouspod or send an email. One sponsorship benefit is you get to create your own pie category! Albemarle Cabinet Company is sponsoring a Gluten-Free Pie category for example.
So get creative! Be a sponsor today!
SHOW NOTES – Links to resources talked about during the podcast:
- Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival – happening the same day! Visit them first then head over after.
- Dutch Pantry – authentic Mennonite store/bakery serving up delicious pies, including fry pies!
- The Charlottesville 29 – Thank you to Simon Davidson for his piece about pie fest that ran last Friday!
- Virginia Festival of the Book – Are you a restaurant owner willing to donate your space for a food event? Then VA Festival of the Book wants to talk to you! Contact me for more details.
This episode is sponsored by MarieBette Café & Bakery.
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