The Asheville Retro Pie Contest is a private event, but creator Barbara Swell hopes others will be inspired to host their own food-focused gatherings for family and friends. Swell offers some ideas for creating a memorable party:
- Plan the contest at least a month in advance.
- Choose your categories.
- Provide prizes and have a theme. Our contest is retro-themed and bakers come dressed accordingly. Prizes generally follow the theme and are mostly donated by guests.
- The day of the party, register the entries. Include the baker’s name, pie name and category, and give the baker and pie a number. Place the numbered card with the pie name beside the pie. Provide a jar, pencils and slips of paper for voting in each category. Each baker should bring a knife and spoon so people can serve themselves a small taste. Pies are not cut until the hostess gives the signal.
- Everyone’s a judge. After voting, people can taste all the pies they want. Provide an activity during vote-tallying. We have live Appalachian string band music and a pie walk with donated mini-pies as prizes. We also provide beer, and guests bring wine, tea and other drinks to share.
- Create community. Although this is a contest, we let folks know that we’re here to have fun, and we honor pie as an art/food that creates community in a slow, old-timey way that’s in danger of becoming lost.