Something is on the menu for everybody at this year’s fourth-annual pie-eating contest, an event organizers say is destined to be the biggest rendention of the competition yet.
“We have triple the amount of sign-ups already this year,” event organizer Angela Shur said recently.
Shur owns Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies and is on the board of the Shepherd’s House, the local homeless shelter to which the proceeds from the contest are contributed.
She said she’s getting a lot of calls about the event, which is set to kick off immediately following the Independence Day parade in Mount Airy on July 4.
“People are asking about how much kids are required to eat and registration fees,” explained Shur.
Children 1- to 4-years old are required only to eat a “tiny” turnover, which is about two inches in size. Those aged 5 to 8 eat a regular turnover, and 9- to 12-year-olds eat a five-inch mini-pie. In each of those categories there is a $25 prize for first place, and a $10 prize for second. Registration costs $5 per child.
Teens 13-17 must eat a nine-inch pie with no bottom crust. They will have the opportunity to earn $50 for first place and $25 for second. Their registration fee is $10.
Adults are required to eat a whole pie, and may earn $75 and $25, respectively, for first and second places. Their registration fee is $10 per person.
Shur warned adults looking to get involved will face stiff competition, as they will take on a man who has been victorious for three years straight. However, one doesn’t need to win to make the pie-eating contest a positive experience.
“Nobody leaves empty-handed,” remarked Shur.
She said all who enter will get a gift certificate to her business, and Bear Creek Gifts has also donated gift bags which will go to each participant. Everything is “ready to rock and roll” for this year’s contest, with a DJ on tap to provide entertainment and WXII television personality Lanie Pope set to be the master of ceremonies.
This year the Shepherd’s House has teamed with Bark and Meow in its fundraising efforts, according to Shur. The pet boutique and hotel is sponsoring a fundraiser for Surry Animal Rescue. Both events will take place in the Bark and Meow parking lot located at the corner of North Main Street and West Oak Street, a change of venue for the pie-eating contest.
Shepherd’s House executive director Mary Boyles said she’s looking forward to another successful fundraiser, stating cuts in state appropriations have made financial support from the community a necessity in running the operations of the homeless shelter.
“I’m always amazed at what the people of this community will do for this organization,” remarked Boyles.
She said all current clients at the Shepherd’s House will participate in the event, as somebody from the community has sponsored their registration fees.
With the outpouring of community support and interest in the event obvious, Boyles said she’s setting high expectations for the event. Last year the contest raised about $10,000. Before that it had never raised more than $5,000. This year’s goal is $15,000.
She said even those not interested in devouring a pie can have fun at the event. There will be raffle tickets offered for a gun package which includes a Double Tap 9 mm pistol, a Maverick 12-gauge shotgun and a Remington .17 HMR bolt action rifle. Another raffle will offer a $1,000 shopping spree.
Food will also be for sale, another area in which the shelter plans to profit. The Dairy Center has donated hot dogs which will be offered for sale alongside chips and drinks. Coca Cola donated soft drinks for the occasion.
“It’s really all about getting people out to participate and have fun,” concluded Shur.
The contest is set for a tentative start time of noon on July 4. However, it will start as soon as the Independence Day parade is over.
Those looking to take part in the pie-eating contest or looking to purchase raffle tickets may visit or call the Mount Airy visitor center at 786-6116, Shepherd’s House at 786-1420 or Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies at 786-1537.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.