There’s the old standby of fluffy white cream sandwiched between two chocolate, usually cake-like circles, but over time the whoopie pie has grown to include peanut butter, mint, banana, and a plethora of other flavor options. The festival in its honor — one of the biggest food festivals in eastern Maine, also appears to be growing.
Judging from the response, Patrick Myers, director of the Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft, is going to have a lot of people at the second annual Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, set for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 26, in Dover-Foxcroft.
“Somebody in town told me he thinks there will be 8,000 people in town,” said Myers. “Personally, I’m planning for around 2,000. That’s a conservative guess. If we get more than that, I will be tickled.”
Last year’s festival attracted 500 people, far more than Myers originally had planned on. Buzz has grown steadily over the past year, and two recent events only have helped it along. One is the publication of Down East Books’ “Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie Book,” which will be on sale at the festival. The other is Gov. John Baldacci’s official proclamation of June 26 as Maine Whoopie Pie Day. First Lady Karen Baldacci and State Rep. Michael Michaud will be on hand at the festival to announce the proclamation.
Twenty-two bakers from across the state will bring their baked creations to the festival, ranging from large scale operations like Isamax Snacks in Richmond to home bakers. Last year, there were just seven bakers.
“I had a baker sign up from Los Angeles, but she couldn’t make it out,” said Myers. “We’ve got folks from Freeport and Falmouth, from Downeast, from all over. A lot of home bakers want to bring their own special recipes to try up against bigger bakeries. There will be a huge variety.”
Whoopies range in style from the traditional chocolate-and-cream variety, to zucchini, pumpkin, red velvet and last year’s Most Original Whoopie Pie category winner, a Needham whoopie, made with coconut and chocolate. Other categories include Best Flavored, Best Traditional and People’s Choice.
Festival goers pay $6 ($3 for children) for a chance to taste test each of the 22 varieties, as well as browse the Maine-made arts and crafts booths and listen to music from a variety of groups. Banjo player Peter Mezoian, the Mallett Brothers Band, the Doughty Hill Band and the Rhoads will perform, along with emcee and come-dian Birdie Googins, better known as the Marden’s Lady. An evening performance at the Center Theatre from songwriter David Mallett is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $17 at the door.
Other events include a 1k fun run/walk for children and a 3k adult run/walk, so you can burn off all those extra whoopie pie calories. For grownups, local restaurant Abel Blood’s Pub has concocted a special Whoopie Pie Martini for the festival.
“It’s a special recipe, and I have been sworn to secrecy,” said Myers. “It’s a combination of liqueurs that emulate the whoopie pie taste.”
Other Dover-Foxcroft businesses and organizations have gotten into the whoopie mood, with an open house at True Value Hardware, a book sale at Thompson Free Library, a used sports equipment sale at the YMCA, and a yard sale and antiques appraisals at Central Hall.
“We’re the center of the whoopie-verse,” said Myers. “It’s really becoming a town wide thing. It’s such a great event to show off the Center Theatre and the town. We want it to be the premiere event in central Maine.”
There’s just one thing missing this year, according to Myers: one very appropriately named celebrity.
“We didn’t get Whoopie Goldberg this year, but maybe she’ll come next year,” he said. “We’ll send her some whoopie pies to try to sweeten the deal.”
For more information about the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival and Center Theatre, visit www.centertheatre.org.