This past weekend was our annual summer picnic. We had between 45-50 people attend, shared a delicious potluck meal together, had lots of great conversation, raised $150 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, and put on our very first pie contest. In this post I thought I’d share some highlights and thank those that made it all possible.

First, a Big Thank You

While these types of events end up being contributed to by a lot of people, two of our community’s members are primarily responsible for organizing and pulling the year’s summer picnic together: Randall Saunders and Karla Norquist.

Thank You Randall

Randall-HCCORandall Saunders was this year’s lead organizer for the Summer Picnic. He created the Meetup and Facebook event postings for it, he made sure that other outlets around Columbus had promotions in them for the event, he organized the potluck signup sheet, oversaw the setup and teardown–and in general saw to lots of big and little details along the way. In short, this event would not have been possible without Randall’s hard work. If you get a chance to thank him in person (or in the comments below) please do so 🙂

Thank You Karla

Karla Norquist came up with the idea for hosting a pie contest as part of the Summer Picnic and spearheaded the entire thing. She bought a guide on how to plan and run a pie contest and then she followed it to a “t” adding in her own creative flourishes throughout. She tirelessly recruited contestants, wrangled judges, and put together the prizes. Again, if you get a chance to thank her in person or in the comments please do.

Thank You to Our Pie Contest Judges & Participants

One of the goals of attaching a pie contest to our Summer Picnic was to bring in new people and build new relationships with other Columbus organizations. We’re happy to report that four of the seven pie contestants were brand new to HCCO and two of the four judges were representatives of like-minded organizations in Central Ohio. We’d like to thank everyone who participated for adding a lot of extra flavor and fun to this event.

Pie Contestants:

  • Brittney McCafferty
  • William Hernandez
  • Jennifer Vickers
  • Judy Weller
  • Gena Deffenbaugh
  • Lisa & Kevin Cerrito
  • Catherine Carney

Pie Contest Judges:

And Finally, Thank You to Everyone Who Pitched In!

Randall and Karla could have (and did!) plan this event to within an inch of its life, but without the help of planned and unplanned volunteers, it wouldn’t have come together. Thank you to everyone who brought a dish or helped us setup and teardown.

Pie Contest Recap and Winners

As we mentioned above, it was our first pie contest ever and it was added to the event for a bit of fun and to see if we couldn’t also do the following: build relationships with other like-minded organizations in the area and raise some money for HCCO operations along the way.

On the fundraising side of things, we gathered $120 in pledges (and one person decided to become a member!). This isn’t a huge windfall of course, but for the number of pledges that was an excellent result. Well over the recommended $1 per piece that we asked for. Thank you to everyone who generously donated!

In terms of relationships built, well, it’s hard to make enemies when you’re feeding people pie! It was a great way for our President and Vice President to connect with leaders from Wild Goose Creative and Kaleidoscope. And we look forward to strengthening those new friendships with more get-togethers and possibly even some cross-promotion or collaboration on events.

But all that is just shop talk, let’s get to the pies!

The Entries

Pie #1, Brittney’s Overindulgent French Silk Pie, was submitted by Brittney McCafferty.

Pie #2, the simply named Apple Pie, was submitted by William Hernandez.

Pie #3, The Soon to be Famous Blueberry Pie, was submitted by Jennifer Vickers.

Pie #4, The Garden to Table Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, was submitted by Judy Weller.

Pie #5, the Heaven On Earth Oreo Cream Cheese Pie, was submitted by Gena Deffenbaugh.

Pie #6, a buttermilk pie, was submitted by Lisa and Kevin Cerrito.

Pie #7, a peach pie, was submitted by Catherine Carney.

The Judging

The contest was conducted as follows: The judges were given a small piece of each pie and a scorecard to judge it by. The scorecards took into account five metrics: Appearance, Filling Flavor & Texture, Crust Flavor & Texture, Achievement of either classic and/or creative “pie-ness” (whatever that means), and finally, the all-important “Would you go for another piece?” metric.

Whew, that’s a lot of pie! But somehow, they found a way to get through it. Once all of their scorecards were tallied we had our top three winners. But the contest was far from over! This is when we opened the floodgates and let everyone jump in line for pie to choose the People’s Choice.

Everyone was encouraged to try as many pies as they wanted to and then to write the number of their favorite on a piece of paper and drop it into a jar. Once those were counted, we had all four of our winners.

The Winners

First place was awarded to Judy Weller’s Farm to Table Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. The judges’ enthusiastic comments included, “I CAN TASTE THE RHUBARB!” and “Very, very good.”

Judy was unfortunately unable to be at the picnic in person, but her prize (the lovely picnic basket below) is being delivered.

Second place was awarded to William Hernandez (and family) for their delicious Apple Pie. The judges raved, “Excellent flavor and texture. Apples baked perfectly.” and “Loved the cinnamon sugar edges…rustic…very cute!”

The Hernandez Family’s prize was several free Red Box blueray rentals and all the snacks needed for a family movie night in.

Third place was awarded to Gena Deffenbaugh’s Heaven on Earth Oreo Cream Cheese Pie. The judges’ comments on this pie included, “Great presentation, great layering, good firmness.” and “So. Much. Sugar.” which given the score on said card must have been a good thing. Gena’s third place prize was a $10 gift card to Chipotle. Mmmm.

And finally, the People’s Choice Prize was awarded to Lisa & Kevin Cerrito’s Buttermilk Pie. Comments around the pie table included, “What is buttermilk pie?” as well as “Is it like Creme Brulee?” and probably most importantly “Oh wow, that’s good.” Lisa & Kevin were given a $20 gift card to Barnes & Noble.

The Picnic in Photos

And with all that, I’m just about out of commentary. The food was excellent, the conversation was fun and stimulating, and if you didn’t get a chance to come out we hope we get to see you at our next big community event.

Please Share Your Feedback with Us

Oh yeah, we’ve put together a quick 1 minute (or less) feedback form. We’d love to hear what you thought of the event and how we can make it better next year.