For some good, old-fashioned fun, host a pie-eating contest at your next event. This particular competition could be held at a fundraiser, in which the contestant raises money based on how many pies he can eat or how fast he can eat them, or simply a “winner-takes-all” affair. However, the host of a pie-eating contest must be aware of food allergies and food safety when determining the details of the event.
Determine the Details
Before you solicit pies or contestants, figure out the initial details of the competition. If it’s going to be a fundraising affair, determine to which charity you plan to donate so potential contestants and supporters will know. Find a location that has a stage or empty area with enough surface area for a long table at which contestants sit to scarf their pie. Ask a volunteer to serve as the emcee of the event and/or the judge, ensuring that none of the contestants are up to anything tricky.
Once you have the event details out of the way, determine what type of eating contest you want to host. In many cases, a pie-eating contest involves the contestants putting their hands behind their backs and trying to eat a pie using only their mouths — as fast as possible. But for something more unusual, you could divide it into multiple categories that include the “most pie eaten in 60 seconds” or the “most pie eaten” overall. No matter which you choose, divide the participants into age categories, offering a miniature pie to the littlest contestants, a medium-sized pie to teens and a full-sized pie for adults. Don’t forget water to wash it down and napkins or wet wipes at the end.
Solicit Donations and Contestants
To encourage participants to sign up, reach out directly to people you know who are active in the charity you want to support — or who just really love pie. Beyond that, post flyers that solicit contestants and ask friends and family to support the participants and donate to the charity. Reach out to a local bakery — whether privately owned or part of a larger chain, such as a grocery store — to ask for pie donations in multiple sizes. Aim to get pies in the same flavor, such as apple, to maintain fairness in the competition.
Food Safety and Allergies
Food safety concerns depend largely on the type of pie; according to Ohio State University Extension’s Safe Food Handling and Preservation Family and Consumer Sciences, pies that contain eggs and milk — such as cream pies or pumpkin pies — can only sit out without refrigeration for a maximum of two hours. Fruit pies can be kept at room temperature for up to two days, but if your event is outdoors and warm, keep the pies in a cooler. Store-bought pies do not have to be refrigerated for up to five days, unless they’ve been cut, because of preservatives. Because food safety allergies are so prevalent, verify with each participant if they have any allergies and double-check with the source of the pies that no potential for cross-contamination exists, such as a fruit pie made in the same facility as a pecan pie.
References and ResourcesJohnston Sunrise: Apple Pie Eating Contest Returning
Adventurous Woman Blog: July 4 Fun: Pie Eating Contest
Safe Food Handling and Preservation Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension: Keep Holiday Pies Safe