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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!

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