Chocolate pie eaten without utensils. That’s right—No. Hands. Allowed. A chance to eat and wear pie. Small wonder that practically every kid on Peaks Island was crowded around the table.
I squeezed my way under the tent erected on the lawn at St. Christopher’s church and pulled out my camera.
The Peaks Island Pie Eating Contest is part of the annual PeaksFest celebration. PeaksFest includes concerts, a small fair, and an art walk. But based on attendance, the Pie Eating Contest is by far the most popular event. “Hi,” I said to M and S and P and other friends and neighbors who’d shown up to cheer the kids on.
“How are you?” they reply with big smiles. Because today everyone has big smiles.
I was pleased that this year there were four age groups plus adults. Finally: everyone could play.
The pie isn’t fancy. Technically, it’s not even pie. It’s Jello instant chocolate pudding, plopped over a chocolate wafer cookie and topped with Reddi-whip. But it is served in an aluminum pie pan—which, it seems, is enough to qualify it to be called pie.
No matter, this contest is about quantity, not quality. To win, you have to gulp down everything in your pie pan—including the chocolate cookie. And as I mentioned before: No Hands Allowed.
Contestants took their places around the table. They donned Hefty bag full-body bibs and waited for the judges to say, “go.”
E charmed me with her pie eating gusto last year, so I butted my way through the crowd and grabbed a spot where I could observe her up close. Her philosophy is that if you want to win, you have to commit full-face. We are talking deep pudding submersion. Her commitment and all-in attitude earned her second consecutive win in her age category. I suspect it will take her far in life as well.
The youngest kids received tiny servings presented in cupcake papers—which their older siblings held in place. In return, the preschoolers cheered on their siblings. “Put your whole face in the bowl,” R directed her brother.
Some competitors focused strictly on the bowl in front of them. Others managed to peek up and keep tabs on the rest of the field.
R emerged from her pie with pudding stuck to her forehead and whipped cream stuck to her hair. For her, getting messy is at least half the fun. Maybe more.
Little M won her age category and her father competed in the adult category. Two Halloweens ago, my husband, Ron, upset Little M’s mother. Seems she overheard Ron hand Little M a giant purple Pixi Stix and say, “Put these in with your Cheerios in the morning. They make the milk turn pretty colors.”
M’s response at the time was a threat. “Watch it or I’m going to teach your daughter to smoke cigarettes,” she said. (She was just kidding. I think…)
Now that I’ve seen M’s husband attack a pie—he went at it so aggressively that the entire plate lifted off of the table and stuck to his face—I’m going to have a talk with her. I have to say that it’s not Ron’s influence on her kids eating habits that she should be worried about.
I think it’s worth noting that all of first place winners, across every age group—were girls. I’m not sure what this means.
As the competitors slurped and gulped and guzzled and breathed pie, I fell into a photo snapping frenzy. So many chocolate cheeks and whipped cream noses to capture over a few short minutes. And oh, the kids’ smiles.
I think that’s what I like best about the pie eating contest. So many happy faces. Win or loose, everyone has fun.
And really, there are no losers. Everyone gets to eat pie.
And wear it.