A Beginner’s Guide to Pi Day Pie Contest: Tips for Hosting Your Own Competition

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Attention all pie lovers, math nerds, and competitive spirits — are you ready to take on the ultimate challenge this Pi Day? With expert advice and insider tips, you’ll learn how to create a fun and successful competition that will have your friends and family begging for seconds — and thirds! 

Baking keeps kids entertained and engaged. a little girl having fun while baking with her family in the kitchen
Young girl helping to bake. Photo Credit: Yayimages.

Pi Day is an annual celebration that falls on March 14th (3/14) to honor the mathematical constant π (pi), which is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is an irrational number, which means it cannot be expressed as a simple fraction, and its decimal representation goes on infinitely without repeating. The first digits of pi are 3.14, hence the choice of March 14th for Pi Day.

In addition to celebrating the significance of pi in mathematics and science, Pi Day has become a fun cultural event. People celebrate Pi Day by organizing pie-eating contests, reciting the digits of pi, creating pi-themed art and music, and having families eat pizza together. 

However, one of the most popular ways to celebrate Pi Day is by hosting a fun pie-making contest. If you’re planning to organize your own Pi Day Pie Contest, here are some tips to help you get started.

Set the Rules and Categories

Setting clear rules and categories for the competition is an essential first step in organizing your Pi Day Pie Contest. Here are some key points to consider:

Entry requirements: Will the contest be open to everyone or restricted to specific groups, such as students or professional bakers, and will there be an entry fee? If charging an entry fee, where do the proceeds go?

Categories: Will there be categories for different types of pies, such as fruit, cream, or savory? Could you effectively judge Reese’s pie against a vegetable pie?

Pre-baked or baked onsite: Do you want contestants to bring baked pies, or will you provide kitchen facilities for them to bake them onsite?

Judging criteria: How will the pies be judged? Will there be a panel of judges, or will the public vote for their favorite pies? What are the criteria for judging, such as taste, appearance, and originality?

Prizes: With every contest, there has to be a prize. What are the awards for the winners in each category?

“The perfect pie for Pi Day starts with a delicious all-butter pie crust and an understanding of the nature of the pie crust. The ingredients have to be very cold, the environment we work with the dough ideally has to be cold, and we should work rather quickly without making the dough warm.”

Katalin Nagy, Spatula Desserts  
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Find a Venue

Choosing the right venue is crucial for the success of your Pi Day Pie Contest; the right venue can make or break your contest. Here are some factors to consider:

Hosting at your home or hiring a venue: Consider the number of people attending if you’re hosting it in your home or yard. Can your home accommodate them? Remember, people will need to use your toilet facilities, so even if you host it outdoors, people may need to go inside your home.

Size: The venue should be large enough to accommodate all the contestants and guests. Consider the number of tables, chairs, and other equipment needed for the event.

Public address system: If you are expecting a large number, you may need a PA system so everyone can hear announcements.

Kitchen facilities: If the contestants need to bake their pies onsite, ensure the venue has a suitable kitchen with ovens, refrigerators, and other equipment. Refrigerators are crucial because, although not strictly a pie, someone may bring along a Baked Alaska, which you make with ice cream, so you’ll want a fridge or freezer to keep it chilled.

Location: The venue should be easily accessible and located in a safe area.

Cost: Consider the rental price of the venue and any additional expenses, such as insurance, permits, and security.

A man's hand is holding a phone and there is a social media icon.
Phone with social media symbols. Photo Credit: Yayimages.

Advertise and Promote the Contest

Promoting your Pi Day Pie Contest is vital to attracting contestants and guests. Here are some ways to advertise the contest:

Social media: Create a Facebook event page, Instagram account, or Twitter hashtag for the contest: post updates and photos to keep people interested.

Flyers and posters: Post posters in local businesses, community centers, and schools. 

Distribute flyers at farmers’ markets and other events. You may want to feature photographs of pies on your flyers; this will give ideas as to what people may bake; lemon pie, Mississippi mud pie, or pecan pie are great visuals. 

Charity: If you are hosting your competition to support a charity, ask the charity to advertise the event through its media channels.

Local media: Contact local newspapers, radio, and TV stations to promote the contest. Offer to provide interviews or press releases.

“Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process of baking a pie for Pi Day. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a newbie, with a little practice and some patience, you can create a beautiful and delicious pie that will be the perfect addition to any Pi Day celebration!”

Micah Klug, Home, Faith, Family

Organize the Logistics

The logistics of organizing a Pi Day Pie Contest can be complex, but careful planning can ensure a smooth and successful event. Here are some logistical considerations:

Contestant registration: Create an online or paper form that contestants can fill out to enter the contest. Have a physical registration area on the day so that people can check in (not everyone who says they will show up on the day does), and you can collect the entry fees, if any.

Equipment and supplies: Rent or buy tables, chairs, tablecloths, and other equipment. You’ll need plates, forks, and napkins for the guests. Make your tables look attractive, and learn how to set a table.

Judging process: Set up a designated area for the judges to taste and evaluate the pies, try to conceal the identity of the pie maker from the judges, so it’s impartial judging. Make sure you have each pie marked with a number, so there is clarity about who’s pie is who’s. Provide score sheets and pencils.

Guest experience: Consider providing entertainment, such as live music or a photo booth, for the guests. Offer food and drinks for sale (if serving wine, make sure you have the right wine glasses); this can bring in extra money, or you may want to provide free samples of the pies.

Reese's Peanut Butter Pie on a plate.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie. Photo Credit: Splash of Taste.

Remember these tips, and you can host a successful and fun Pi Day pie contest celebrating the joy of math and baking. Pi Day is an excellent opportunity to come together as a family or community and celebrate the wonder and diversity of our world. Happy Pi Day!

Mandy is the enthusiastic creator of the vegetarian website Splash of Taste; she makes meat-free cooking fun and easy. When Mandy’s not cooking and writing, you’ll find her traveling, exploring countries and cuisines, and spending time with her chihuahua. Download her free 5 x Easy Vegetarian Meals eBook.

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