Once again, madness struck the Guffey community for the ninth annual Pie Palooza Feb. 8. This year, the award for Grand Champion Pie Maker went to Jenny Hartman’s K-2 class for their Triple Berry with a hint of dark chocolate pie.
The top selling pie this year, the Piotrowski family’s Old World Crimini pie, sold for $485, beating last year’s top pie at $410. The second highest selling pie, Jake Van Egmond’s Chocolate Stuffed Crust Strawberry Cream pie, sold for $475. The third highest selling pie, Ann Erickson’s Potato Tart with sautéed mushrooms and Gruyere cheese, brought $320.
There were fewer pies than last year, 48 versus 56; and the school raised a little less money $6,800 versus $7,375; but the price per pie increased this year from about $132 last year to $142 this year.
About 100 people in addition to students, crowded into the school’s multi-purpose room for this year’s pie contest, melodrama and pie auction. The pie judges were Betty Royse, head judge, Julie Frost and Frank Schiola.
Local auctioneer Chris Downare once again donated his skills for the pie auction.
Proceeds from the auction will go toward purchase of new furniture for the middle school classroom, as the size of the middle school is expected to double next year, said School Principal Martine Walker.
Some of the pie proceeds will also go into the new school bus fund, she added.
Walker handed out certificates to students who baked pies this year: middle school students Troy Dabney, Havannah Van Egmond and Sophia Guilliani, Vince Guilliani and Colton Johnson, Jenny Hartman’s K-2 classes, and Lynda MacDonald’s 3-5 class. Also, a big thank-you to the 25 volunteers who helped make the event a success, said Walker.
While the judges were making their selections, the school students put on a pie melodrama, “All’s Fair in Love and Pie,” with some adaptations by middle school teacher Hillevi Peterson-Hirsch. Since there are more male than female students in her class this year, the Pie Sisters, from previous melodramas, were changed to the Pie Brothers from Another Mother.
After the melodrama, the pie awards, first, second and third place winners in each of the four categories – cream, fruit, savory and other - were handed out. From the four first place winners in each category, the Grand Champion is picked. The first place winners in each category were: “Savory” the Piotrowski family with their Old World Crimini pie. “Other” Sally Peterson with her Cherry-Burgundy pie; “Fruit” Hartman’s K-2 class with their Triple Berry pie; and “Cream” Jake Van Egmond with his Chocolate Stuffed Crust Strawberry Cream pie.
The Grand Champion award went to Hartman’s K-2 classes. Of the student pies baked, Sophia Guilliani and Havannah Van Egmond’s Zesty Orange pie took third in the fruit category, and Troy Dabney’s Ban-offee pie (that’s sliced bananas with a light coffee whipped cream topping, an English dessert pie) took third in the cream category.
Before the pie auction took off, everyone got to sample as many of the 48 pies as they wanted. The first pie auctioned off for $15 and things went up from there. The pies sold from $10 to $200, excluding the top selling pies, with most in the $75 - $140 range.
Student pies sold for: Guilliani and Van Egmond’s pie, $250; Dabney’s pie, $60; Colton Johnson’s two pies each sold for $60; and Vince Guilliani’s pie, $50.
The traveling Grand Champion award will stay in the K-2 classroom until next year’s pie fest.