After a pair of virtual events last year, the South Side Pie Challenge will return to an in-person edition on Oct. 9 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., though one held outdoors and to-go in Nichols Park rather than inside the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.
Other than that, the format is largely the same as more ordinary years: a juried contest across four categories — fruit, nut, cream and sweet potato/pumpkin — with funds going to the Hyde Park/Kenwood Hunger Programs. The outdoor tent will be set up just north of the Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave.
“It’s pie to go. If people want to bring a fork to Nichols Park and a blanket, they can wander away somewhere. We’re just not hosting a gathering,” said Julie Vassilatos, an organizer of the event. “I feel a little bit like the Soup Nazi when I say, ‘You know, get your pie and get out!’ ”
Slices are $4, while bakers can enter the competition for $30 by Oct. 6 through the Pie Challenge’s website.
During last year’s pandemic, the Pie Challenge hosted two events. The first, in May, featured people submitting videos of themselves making pies and raised $3,200 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Then, the group held a “Pie it Forward” event in October, in which people donated a registration fee to their local food pantry, then made pies and delivered them to friends and family.
“Every time somebody would give to a different food pantry, I would post about that on the Facebook page and, you know, I hope people learned a lot about the many, many, many food pantries that are just doing incredible work on a shoestring at a time when there’s still great need, just a terrible amount of insecurity all over the country,” said Vassilatos. “That was a real eye-opening one for me.”
For more information or to register for the contest before Oct. 6, visit southsidepie.com