BELFAST, Maine — After a family band set down its fiddles, after local children read poems and after a few food-themed singalongs with a banjo, a crowd of about 150 people was released from its seats to eat as much pie as they could at the eighth annual Waldo County Pie and Story Festival.
Turkish lamb and feta, bobotie South African meat, pork apple, pecan and pork tamale potpie with a cornbread crust were just some of the many pies covering the tables in the Belfast Boathouse on Sunday afternoon.
Cheryl Pike of Searsport created a particularly successful plate that squeezed together slices of caramel-pecan-apple, ricotta-tomato, apple-berry, cheesecake and apple pie.
“I limited myself to $5. It’s cheaper than McDonald’s,” Pike said.
A slice of pie cost $1 at the festival. All the pies were donated, and the money goes toward continuing the festival.
Fran Clemetson of Belfast and her three sons worked all morning to make their pies, an annual tradition for the family. Clemetson made a ricotta-based pie, and her sons made a chocolate-pudding dish, “cow pie.”
“This morning [the children] took over the kitchen and figured it out,” Clemetson said at the festival. “Their original pie wasn’t cow-pie looking enough.”
After adding raisins and chocolate chips, the chocolate-pudding-based pie looked much lumpier and more to the boys’ satisfaction.
“We still have a mess to clean up when we get home,” Clemetson said.
People at the festival can cast votes for pies. The categories include best overall, most beautiful and yummy mess.
The reigning champion of the yummy mess category entered a sugary concoction to win the category for the third year in a row. Tim Woitowitz of Stockton Springs entered what he called “Meg Pie,” a mix of pudding, Oreos, bananas, walnuts, whipped cream and candies. Meg Pie was so messy he didn’t chance ruining the interior of his car.
“It is really gooey. It is so gooey I had to make it when I got here,” he said at the Boathouse Sunday. “You can’t carry that in the car.”
Jennifer Armstrong organized the festival. The professional storyteller travels the country for work, but likes coming to Belfast to hear local children read poems.
“It is a homegrown, local event,” she said after putting her banjo down. “That’s what makes it special for me.”
The Sunday event was the best-attended Waldo County Pie and Story Festival to date, Armstrong said. The festival started with a lot of sweet pies, but Armstrong said they have become more ethnic and more savory over the eight-year span of the event.
“There are so many pies you want to taste. With this many people, I think all the pie will be gone,” she said, laughing.