Celebration, FL — Just a guess, but I’d have to say bikers consume their fair share of pie. I’m not basing this on any observations of the size of bikers’ bellies — I just believe coffee and pie are an important cultural ritual frequently celebrated as part of many a weekend morning motorcycle ride. That was my excuse, anyway, for attending the Great American Pie Festival and its Never Ending Pie Buffet in Celebration, FL this weekend. Come on, what biker hasn’t stopped for coffee and a slice of pie as part of their ride? (one of my most memorable pie-centric stops was for Vinegar Pie at Clinch Mountain Lookout in Tennessee).
Pie has been around awhile. It even goes back to Biblical times. In the Book of Genesis, God said: “Let there be Pie,” and there was Pie. And it was Good (I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure it’s in there. Look it up). Actually, pie is believed to have originated with the ancient Greeks, who are credited with making the first pastry shell from flour and water (I found that fact in Wikipedia, so it must be true). But, of course, I digress. You’d rather hear about the Never Ending Pie Buffet.
The American Pie Council (the APC, to those in the know), and Crisco sponsor the annual baking competition and pie-centric blowout. There are pie-eating contests, the aforementioned baking contest (Shootout at the Pie-K Corral, if you will), entertainment, kids’ activities, and did I mention the Never Ending Pie Buffett — 83,000 slices (but who’s counting) of fruity, flaky, crispy, creamy, sweet pietopia. The rest of the event is free, but the Pie Buffet (all-you-can-eat, of course) is $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. Truly a bargain for the inevitable sugar rush and ensuing sugar coma.
“This is a major event for us,” Julia Jones of Rocky Mountain Pies told me. “It’s the APC. There’s only one organization that focuses only on pies. So we’re here to promote our business and we want to feed people really good pie.”
The California Raisin Marketing Board also maintains a high profile at the festival, with samples of one of my favorites, Golden Raisin and Rhubarb pie. They brought along their “Best Raisin Pie under the Sun,” made with two types of raisins and dates, as well as their Chocolate Walnut Raisin Pie, which won Best of Show in the Professional Division in last year’s bakeoff.
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