ROCKLAND, Maine — Like something out of a dessert-lover’s dream, nearly 20 restaurants, inns and other businesses in Rockland served up thousands of slices of pie Sunday, and in the process raised thousands of dollars for a local food pantry.
Organizers of the sixth annual Pies on Parade Tour said they sold all 400 tickets before the pie extravaganza even began Sunday afternoon. Proceeds from the annual fundraiser go to Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry.
Nineteen businesses participated in this year’s event, which is held by Historic Inns of Rockland. With most locations offering at least two varieties, tour participants had their choice of everything from traditional fruit and berry pies and tarts to quiches, pizzas and, of course, whoopie pies.
For instance, Lily Bistro served up a bacon and potato quiche, while just down the block, Rheal Day Spa offered visitors a sugar-free pie made from yogurt, honey and lavender. There were Cornish pasties at The Capt. Lindsey House, lemon meringue tartlets at the Pastry Garden, and an apple-walnut-currant-blue cheese pie at Sweets & Meats.
P.J. Walter, co-owner of the Limerock Inn, said he and other organizers had hoped to raise at least $5,000 for the food pantry over the weekend but he was proud to report that the end result likely would be between $7,000 and $8,000.
Not including this weekend’s event, the tour has donated more than $20,000 to the food bank.
Six years ago, there were just five stops along the tour. Now, the tour has become a town-wide event that draws tourists as well as local residents into downtown restaurants, inns and shops in the middle of winter.
“It’s really become a town-wide event, and we are looking to expand even further,” Walter said.
Gail and Paul Cote of Smithfield, R.I., said they were enjoying themselves, even if Gail was already starting to feel full less than one-quarter of the way through the tour. Paul Cote said the pie tour has the additional benefit of allowing them to get an idea of where else to eat during future visits.
“Personally, I think we would come back,” Paul Cote said.
“It’s has a nice community feel,” added Gail Cote.
Jack Grossbaum, a member of the Area Interfaith Outreach board of directors, said his organization typically serves about 500 people — or between 150 and 200 families — every month. In addition to food, the organization has also seen increased demand for fuel assistance in recent years.
Pies on Parade is scheduled next year on Jan. 23, 2011.