The aromas of spicy, sugary and fruit-filled pies, and people who enjoyed eating them, filled Arome Oct. 4 for the first ever First Friday pie contest.
Fourteen people entered. After pies were judged, free pie was provided to all-comers. The event was reminiscent of the off-and-on Shortt Supply-sponsored pie contests held several years between 2004-2016.
Organizer Janice Bell said, “A big thank you to all who participated. The first annual and First Friday pie contest was a hit and there’s no time like the present to mark your calendars for round two on Oct. 4, 2019. We would like to grow this event and turn it into a non-profit fundraiser and will be looking for partners in that next year.”
Bell’s store, Arome, which specializes in spices, vinegars and oils, coordinated the event with help from the Hood River Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Association.
Mayor Paul Blackburn, City Councilor Kate McBride and Hood River Chamber Board President Janet Davis served as judges. The pies entered ranged from a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free sweet potato pie to a “crack pie” (basically butter and sugar) and traditional apple, pear, peach, pecan and berry pies.
Here are the judges’ top five pies:
Oak Street Hotel with a blueberry, raspberry and blackberry pie
Windermere with an apple crumb pie
Tammy’s Floral with a triple berry pie
Gorge Group Realtors with a peach pie
Sportsman’s Barbershop with a plum crisp
Prizes, including first-place $100 gift card to Arome and a $50 gift card to Melika, came from local merchants.
Second prize was gift cards to Hood River Hobby, Laurel & Eddie and The Darling Boutique and a olive oil and vinegar gift pack; third place was a $20 gift card to Hood River Hobby and a card from The Darling Boutique
Bell said that while the invitation to join the pie contest was open to the public, most of the contestants were individuals and it happened that the business-sponsored pies won out. Pies had to be brought in by 6 p.m. Oct. 5.
“Hosting community events like this is one of the reasons I love my job, and the people of the Gorge made a strong showing,” Bell said. “Pie is near and dear to my heart and I’ve been making pies before my age hit double digits, with recipes my parents and grandparent’s handed down. I actually ditched the wedding cake for my wedding and went straight for family-made pies that my parents, sister and brother were nice enough to make for me.”