CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Plenty of pie will be served in Carl Junction later this month in celebration of the international holiday Pi Day, and five lucky judges will be going home with a face full of pastry.
The city of Carl Junction is hosting its first Pie Day — with an E — from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 30, in the Carl Junction Community Center gymnasium. The contest is free to enter for those who can bring their own table or a table can be supplied for $10. Tables can be decorated, and the more creative, the better.
Councilwoman LaDonna Allen said the goal is to appeal to a variety of people, not just to any one segment of the public.
“The idea was to have some kind of baking contest or cooking contest to draw in a section of the public that wouldn’t normally take part in things like athletic events, something else for adults and competitors of any age,” Allen said.
The admission fee is $1 per person so the public can sample each pie, vote for a favorite and automatically be entered into a pie-eating contest, as well as the chance to pie a judge in the face. Applicants can register for the event at City Hall and must register by March 29. Those who live outside of Carl Junction are welcome to participate as well.
Contestants may enter as many as two kinds of pies but must bake three of each of kind. Two of the pies will be sampled by the public and judges. The third pie will be entered into a silent auction. They must be marked with a 3-by-5-inch card displaying the contestant’s name, recipe name, list of ingredients and any common food allergens contained.
Event proceeds will go toward a fund to build a veterans monument in Memorial Park, 413 E. Pennell St., to honor all branches of military service. The project is expected to cost approximately $50,000 and the city has already begun saving for the endeavor. Allen said this memorial has been on the city’s mind for at least a decade.
“We met with Jim Dawson, whose family was involved in the Webb City Memorial such as the Kneeling Miner, and he kicked around some ideas,” Allen said. “We came up with a simple monument to display bronze plaques for every military branch with a VFW flag and an American flag. We’re hoping to have some benches and landscaping.”
Those in the community who think they can make the best pie are encouraged to participate in the Pie Day contest for a chance to win the top prize and bragging rights. A panel of five judges — Activities Director Kenny Wickstrom, Gary Stubblefield, Mayor Mark Powers, Councilman Rick Flinn and a surprise guest — will choose the top pies.
“There is a price we have to pay for being a judge,” Wickstrom said. “We’re going to be trying all of this awesome pie, so there has to be some repercussions. We’re all going to get pied in the face as judges.”
As a judge, Wickstrom said, he’s going to be looking for a good, quality crust.
March 14 is known as Pi Day, an annual event to recognize pi, the most famous constant in math and physics. Pi Day took off in 1988 after San Francisco Exploratorium physicist Larry Shaw made the connection between March 14 and the first three digits of the number — 3.14 — in an effort to brings museum staff together.
Wickstrom originally wanted to hold the event on March 14, but because the day falls on a weekday, the date was moved back to the last Saturday of the month.
Contestants can set up from 8 to 10 a.m. Members of the public and the panel of judges will conduct taste tests from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The pie-eating contest drawing will commence at 11 a.m. and the drawing for the judges to be pied will begin at noon. Winners will be announced at 12:30 p.m.
First-place winners will receive a blue ribbon, second-place winners a red ribbon and third-place winners a white ribbon. The public may also choose a favorite pie, with the winner to receive a certificate.
Details about Carl Junction’s Pie Day can be found on the Carl Junction Community Center’s Facebook page or by calling 417-649-7237. The Carl Junction Community Center is located at 303 N. Main St. and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.