Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's Pie Time! The Great American Pie Festival returns to Orlando April 27-28

Some of them bake pie for a living. Some of them simply live for pie. For 19 years, pie bakers of all skill levels — from the Sunday afternoon family baker to the neighborhood bakery owner, from budding pastry chefs putting a twist on their grandma’s recipes to the nation’s most experienced commercial bakers — have gathered once a year to determine who bakes America’s very best pies. From Friday, April 26 through Sunday, April 28, hundreds of competitors hungry for prizes and bragging rights will gather at the American Pie Council (APC) /Crisco National Pie Championships held at the Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando. In conjunction with the pie championships, the APC is proud to present its 12th Annual APC Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco on Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, in nearby Celebration, Fla.

The APC — America’s only organization dedicated to preserving America’s love affair with pie— is now accepting entries for the National Pie Championships from amateur, professional and commercial bakers. Amateur bakers may compete in a flavorful new category this year: Comstock Wilderness pie fillings in the baker’s choice of apple, cherry, blueberry, peach or strawberry. New this year is a Bake Learning Center which will offer championship attendees pie baking tips and instruction by leading industry professionals and pastry chefs.

Last year, the prestigious pastry bake-off drew more than 441 commercial, 115 professional, 237 amateur and 8 junior entries for an astounding total of 801 pies in the quest to find America’s top bakers. Commercial winners took home bragging rights and the promise of greater sales, while winners in all other categories received plenty of dough, as is cash and prizes. This year’s competition is expected to be even more heated. Entry forms and pie categories for each division are available on the APC website, Entry is $15 per pie for amateur APC members, $35/non members and each entrant receives an Emile Henry pie dish; see website for professional and commercial entry costs. APC members receive discounted entry costs; membership information is also available online.

Pie lovers are also invited to apply to be a judge at the prestigious competition. Last year, 195 esteemed pie aficionados from all over the world lent their time and taste buds to nibble on more than 800 pies. No previous judging or baking experience is required; applicants need only explain why they would like to be a judge. Potential pie judges may fill out an entry form online at through March 30, 2013.

Hundreds of volunteers are also needed to make the championships and the APC Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco run as easy as, well, pie. Volunteers may indicate the shifts or duties they prefer to work by filling out an application online at by Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

The Caribe Royale is offering a special rate of $129 per night for those competing in or attending the APC/Crisco National Pie Championships or the APC Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco.  To receive this special rate, guests must mention the event by name.  Reservations may be made by calling 800-823-8300. For more information about the Caribe Royale, visit

“It’s amazing to think that right now, bakers across the country are baking their hearts out, testing out new recipes and breaking the barriers to create even better tasting, more creative and more tantalizing pies than the year before,” said Linda Hoskins, Executive Director, American Pie Council. “Every year brings new surprises and new recipes from the best bakers in all categories, from our amateurs to our professional and commercial bakers.”

More than 39,000 pie lovers from across the globe are expected to transcend upon Celebration, Fla. on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 for the APC Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco. The increasingly popular, free admission festival returns to Celebration with all the activities that have made it a family favorite, including the Pie Creation Station, the pie tin art activity for art lovers of all ages, and the Demonstration Stage sponsored by Village Inn and Bakers Square Restaurants, featuring entertainment and baking demonstrations with chefs from across the country. Always a crowd favorite, the kids’ and adults’ pie eating contests return this year, once again sponsored by Private Selection.

The highlight of the festival is the Never Ending Pie Buffet, which last year featured an astounding 90,000 slices of pie as well as ice cream, toppings and beverages from America’s best known commercial bakers. The Never Ending Pie Buffet has grown each year, from 83,000 slices in 2010 and 70,000 in 2009. The buffet and the children’s activities are the only paid events at the festival.  All stage entertainment and demonstrations are free.  Tickets to the Pie Buffet are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors over 65 and children under 5 to enjoy all they care of eat and drink.

Those interested in keeping up to date on the latest news concerning the pie championships, pie festival or pie news can follow the American Pie Council on Facebook and Pinterest and on Twitter at FYPie.

The festival will be held at Lakeside Park at 631 Sycamore St. in downtown Celebration, Florida 34747. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, April 27; noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 28. Admission to the festival is free.

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