The 2008 Great American Pie Festival, presented by the American Pie Council® (APC) and sponsored by Crisco®, drew the largest number of participants in the event's 14-year history. A record-setting 50,000 slices were served at the Never Ending Pie Buffet, sponsored by local, regional and national commercial bakeries, restaurants and markets.
A number of volunteers participated in the festival in Celebration, Fla., and as servers, slicers and judges for the pie competitions at the Orlando Sun Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee.
One of the highlights of the festival was the announcement of the APC/Crisco National Pie Championships winners. Held annually since 1995, the National Pie Championships pit participants against other top bakers nationwide. The APC has established a high standard of quality in pie making across all categories.
During the championships, 123 of the nation's leading commercial, professional, amateur and junior chef pie bakers entered a total of 867 pies, 447 of which were commercial entries.
While no ‘Best of Show’ is traditionally awarded in the commercial division, more than 150 first place ribbons were awarded. Bakers Square captured the greatest number of awards with 22 category 1st place wins. Commercial division categories consisted of: family-wholesale less than $2, premium-wholesale less than $4, gourmet-wholesale less than $6, super gourmet-wholesale more than $6 and independent bakers with pie sales less than $1 million.
The number of categories for entrants has grown considerably since the competition's inception, and included raisin for the first time this year.
Pies were judged on appearance, flavor and texture. Scores were based on a 9-point scale, with 1 representing “poor” and 9 “excellent.”
The 2009 Great American Pie Festival sponored by Crisco and the 15th Annual APC/Crisco National Pie Championships will be held April 24-26 next year.