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Mmmmmm pie – Great American Pie Festival this weekend in Celebration

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For the ninth year in a row, the small town that Disney built (Celebration) will become the pie capital of the world this Saturday and Sunday, April 24 and 25, when thousands of pie lovers, tasters and bakers gather together the Great American Pie Festival. The highlight, as always, will be the Never-Ending Pie Buffet, featuring award-winning pie, ice cream, toppings and beverages.

Presented by the American Pie Council (APC) – an organization dedicated to preserving America’s pie heritage – the festival is a free-admission family-friendly event that attracted a record 25,000 pie lovers and dessert devotees last year. Attendees will see pie-making demos, pie eating contests, PieCasso Art, music, entertainment, vendors and food and beverage booths. But it’s the 70,000 slice Never-Ending Pie Buffet (up from 50,000 last year) that’s the highlight.

For $10 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 12, and those over 65, you can “taste drive” all you can eat pie provided by the nation’s leading commercial pie makers. From fruit to sweet potato, chocolate to custard, pumpkin to citrus, and nuts to berries, the savory slices of pie cover an incredible spectrum of flavors. The award-winning slices are offered by local, regional and national commercial bakeries, restaurants and markets. You’ll also find an abundant array of ice cream flavors, toppings and other treats from various companies.

“If there’s ever a time or a place to sample pie – every type of pie you can imagine – the Festival’s the right time, and the Never-Ending Pie Buffet is the right place,” assures Linda Hoskins, executive director of the American Pie Council. “But pace yourself. Some people are impulsive and they’ll have six slices of apple pie in a row. Others have a strategy so they can sample chocolate, then banana, then cherry… They create their own pie free-for-all.”

The festival will be held at Lakeside Park in downtown Celebration. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, April 24; noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 25.

In addition to the festival, the 16th annual APC/Crisco 2010 National Pie Championships will be held April 23 to 25 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. Commercial, professional, amateur and junior chef pie makers will test their tasty creations in a variety of categories. Guests at the Pie Festival on Saturday can watch live streaming video of the National Pie Championships taking place at the Omni. Live coverage will include contestants hard at work on their pies, interviews with judges and much more. The live video will also be accessible online at the APC website, www.piecouncil.org.

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