Believed to be the largest competition devoted solely to celebrating apple pie, the 8th Annual Bucktown Apple Pie Contest will see more than 190 amateur and professional bakers battle it out for culinary supremacy and bragging rights on Sunday, October 14, 2012. As always, entries will be judged by a select panel of celebrities and foodies for the coveted blue ribbon. This year’s judges include Paula Haney of Hoosier Mama Pie Company and Alpana Singh, host of WTTW’s Check, Please! and Proprietor of the forthcoming Boarding House Restaurant and Wine Bar.
After a record-breaking contest last year, organizers aim to go even bigger. This year will see more competition than ever before, as the number of contestants allowed to enter has expanded. “There was such a great response last year, and unfortunately, once the registration filled up, we had to turn some would-be contestants away,” says contestant coordinator Sara Dudnik. “This year we felt we had the resources and experience to welcome more competitors. The more, the merrier.”
This year also sees the return of the professional division, a success after its inception last year. Last year’s inaugural winner, Dinah Grossman of Wicker Park’s Cheap Tart Bakery, returns this year to defend her title.
A fundraiser organized by the Friends of Holstein Park, the Bucktown Apple Pie Festival started in 2005 with 50 bakers and raised $1,800. Last year’s event was the largest yet, drawing over 2000 Chicagoans eager to taste the results. With more pies to offer, organizers have set their goal to raise $15,000 for park improvements, safety, and community-building initiatives. Contestants can pride themselves on the fact that their hard work will benefit a jewel of the Chicago Park District.
Admission is free, and non-bakers can put their own taste buds up against the judges’ by purchasing slices of the entries. The day is about Chicago families and residents coming together to enjoy a beautiful park, a beautiful fall day, and a lot of beautiful apple pies. According to Michelle Pennington, President of the Friends of Holstein Park, “The event has become a fall favorite and we encourage everyone to come out, sample some pie, listen to some great music, and enjoy the children’s activities.”
The entry fee for amateur contestants is $25, and they are required to bring 2 pies. If contestants donate a third pie, they get $5 worth of tickets to spend at the event.