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Great American Pie Festival

by Meghann on April 29, 2012

I <3 pie!

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The first time I heard about the Great American Pie Festival was on the Food Network. The Food Network airs a behind-the-scenes special every so often on the festival and all the cool things that go into it. The special mainly focuses on the pie bakers that compete in the amateur and professional pie contests that occur through the weekend, but that wasn’t the part that always caught my attention. What caught my attention was the never ending pie buffet that festival attendees could partake in.

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Yep, for $10 you could have ALL the pie you could eat. Pie, pie, and more pie!

When I discovered the festival takes place in practically my backyard (Celebration, FL) I put the festival on my bucket list. A few years came and went and the timing never worked out to attend, but this year? This year the timing was perfect. We had no plans, a beautiful day, family we wanted to see, and bellies ready for pie. Sign us up!

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Derek and I drove from Tampa with his parents this morning and my dad, little brother, and his wife met us in Celebration from Titusville. It was actually a nice little halfway point between the two coasts.

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Parking was a little bit of an issue (Celebration isn’t that big of a place), but once we found a hidden spot in a far off neighborhood, it was just a little bit of a walk to the entrance. We met my family, quickly bought our tickets, and were entering the buffet faster than you could say “pie.”

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The “Never-Ending Pie Buffet” was made up of a dozen or so pie vendors with three or 4 different kind of pies to sample per vendor. The rules were that you could have as much pie as you wanted, but you weren’t allowed to take any outside of the buffet area. Your $10 ticket also bought you unlimited access, so you could come and go from the buffet as you pleased.

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The crowds were intense. There were some pie-crazed people out there!

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As soon as we got in the buffet area, it was like a pie free for all. We all started grabbing slices of pie at lightening speed with the determination to try as many as we could before our stomachs cried uncle.

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Of course, we were all up to the challenge.

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Sharing was the name of the game. One person would grab a piece of pie and four forks would immediately dig into it. I had a bite of everything and two or three bites of the pies that were really good. There was chocolate pie, lemon meringue, raspberry, apple, peach, mint, cranberry, and so on and so on.

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So. Many. Pies.

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We ate…..

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And we ate….

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And we ate some more. :)

My absolute favorite was the Wick’s Peanut Butter Cream Pie. OMG – it was like eating the center of Reeses in a pie crust. It was amazing.

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And when we got full of pie…

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there was ice cream.

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Has anyone tried the new Smucker’s Cake Batter Magic Shell?

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It turned the vanilla ice cream into cake batter ice cream. Me like.

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(p.s. vanilla ice cream was also amazing with a slice of the Publix blueberry pie. Just sayin’)  

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After we stuffed ourselves silly with pie, we thought it might be fun to see what else this pie festival had to offer.

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We also needed something salty like whoa.

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My dad ordered a gyro platter that the majority of us shared. It was just what we needed to balance out the sweet tooth overload from the day.

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Besides the never-ending pie buffet, the Great American Pie Festival also had a stage set up with hourly demonstrations/ pie challenges

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And an entire kiddie area complete with a bouncy house, blow-up slide, and crafts table.   

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Kids could decorate plates

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Or build their own pies

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There were also pie eating contests!

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Go, kids, go!

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And in all that madness, I was even able to spot a few friends. Hi Carolina! :)

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So much fun!

We left the festival full of sugar, with huge grins on our face. And now I can safely cross “attend the Great American Pie Festival” off of my bucket list. Check! :)

If you love pie (who doesn’t love pie?!) and happen to be in the Central Florida area next April, I highly recommend checking out the Great American Pie Festival. I mean, a Never-Ending Pie Buffet for $10? How can you say no? ;)

We stopped in Lakeland on the way back to Tampa to have dinner with Derek’s grandparents at Cracker Barrel. I ordered the “Beans & Greens” (pinto beans, turnip greens, and a corn muffin)

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with a house salad

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(There was too much bacon, so I ended up just eating the tomatoes on the side)

I have officially entered “sugar crash” mode. I’m exhausted and ready to crawl into bed. Such a fun day, but I’m ready to call it a night.

Sleep tight everyone!

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete April 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Whyyyyy is your dad wearing that hideous shirt?????
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2 Emily N April 30, 2012 at 8:00 am

I gotta agree with that one…
Emily N recently posted..Last long run… Till the LONG one

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3 Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete April 30, 2012 at 8:47 am

Hehe. I’m mostly surprised Derek let him get away with it. :)
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4 Meghann April 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

trust me, we’ve been disowning him for years on this one. Doesn’t he understand we outnumber him? ;)

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5 Megan May 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I love your dad’s shirt. It nowhere near balances out all the FSU crap I have to put up with on the blog…. lol.

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6 Alex @ therunwithin April 29, 2012 at 9:09 pm

This festival looks amazing, I am very jealous. My favorite all time thing about festivals is the whipped cream “pie” eating contest. I could win that hands down. I am a whipped cream gal.
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7 Marilyn (Forkful) April 29, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Omigoodness, I don’t think I have ever seen so many pies and pie toppings in one place before! My sweet tooth is bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t make it to the Festival this year. I’m shooting for next year!

Those Publix pies are surprisingly delish. A warm, fresh cherry pie from a Publix Bakery made me a believer. Which was your favorite non-peanut butter pie at the festival? Were there any local Orlando pie vendors at the Festival that you’d put on the top of your list to visit now that you’ve sampled their pies? I’m making a mental pie-eating wish list as I’m typing. ;)

Thank you for the post!
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8 Meghann April 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Publix pies are the best! They were mainly national pie vendors and I tried so many, that it’s hard to remember which ones really stood out. I will say that the Publix blueberry was another favorite. :)

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9 Grace @ Grace Dishes April 29, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I had no idea this happened so close to us! I was in Disney World today but next year I will be putting this in my calendar. SUPER FUN! Thanks for sharing :)
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10 Sana April 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm

:) so fun!
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11 Brian April 29, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I thought that was you!
Great post! Love your photos!

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12 Kristen @ notsodomesticated April 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm

How FUN!!!! I can’t believe the event was only $10 … what a bargain!
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13 Army Amy* April 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Ten bucks – cant beat that price! I’m not much of a pie-lover myself, but that looks like a fun way to spend the day!*
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14 Jessica April 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm

OOOOOOMMMMMMGGGGGGG that looks like pie heaven! I am jealous!

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15 Cait's Plate April 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Oh my gosh this looks like SO much fun!

PS – I LOVE your sister-in-law’s hair!! It’s so perfect for summer!
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16 Meghan April 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Oh my! I have always drooled over those food network specials. All you can eat pie for $10, what a deal!!
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17 Cate April 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Looks like you had a fun day! My family and I went to the Pie Festival in Celebration a few years ago and had a good time too.
It looks like it is bigger than when we went, but all the pie was so good! This makes we want to go back.
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18 Niki@justrunninwithit April 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Omg! Yum!
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19 Rachel April 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm

“There was too much bacon…”

I didn’t realize there was such a thing?!

:)

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20 Laura April 30, 2012 at 12:27 am

hahahah i was going to comment and say the same thing! I’ve never heard of a thing such as too much bacon!

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21 jv April 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I worked in Celebration last year and the traffic for the 4th of July was insane!

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22 Grace April 30, 2012 at 12:21 am

I wish I would have known about the pie festival! Looks like so much fun!
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23 Nicca April 30, 2012 at 4:56 am

We love festivals and this looks definitely a delicious festival for all the people who loves pie.. Wish I can join this kind of food festival..
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24 Tessa @ Amazing Asset April 30, 2012 at 6:56 am

Umm wow what a most fantastic festival! I would have to agree with you, that one that tastes like a reeses would have been my favorite too… or the blueberry paired with the ice cream, oh my word yes!
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25 Hillary April 30, 2012 at 7:52 am

Is there a cake festival down there too? Now THAT I would totally sign up for!
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26 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope April 30, 2012 at 8:05 am

That looks like such a fun festival! I love pie :)

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27 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City April 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

What an amazing festival!
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28 Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride April 30, 2012 at 9:53 am

Pie festival = my dream! That sounds absolutely delicious and now I am in search of any type of pie festival up north. Yum!
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29 Katie April 30, 2012 at 11:26 am

Oh my gosh – that looks like an amazing time! So…much…pie!!!
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30 Deanna April 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm

That sounds like the best day ever. I’m craving pie in my cubicle now!

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31 Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep April 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I was downtown having brunch at the Celebration Town Tavern the same day you were in town! I wasn’t feeling crowds that day, so I didn’t even attempt to go to the festival. Maybe next year!
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32 Meghann April 30, 2012 at 3:32 pm

We just missed you! Have you gone before? it was definitely an experience.:)

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