Braham was named the “Homemade Pie Capital of Minnesota” by Gov. Rudy Perpich in 1990. The fame for pie began in the 1930s and 40s when folks would drive to their lake homes, taking the “shortcut to Duluth through Braham.” After driving from the Twin Cities they would stop at the Park Cafe for pie and coffee.
Pie Day began in 1990 as a pie and ice cream social in July, funded by a “Celebrate Minnesota” tourism grant. In 1992 the date changed to the first Friday in August when the Isanti County Historical Society became the organization in charge of the festival. The event has grown to include crafters, a small quilts display, a pie art and hat show, an antique bicycle and car show, performances and demonstrations from folk artists, storytellers, and musicians. There are also pie baking and pie eating contests, as well as a pie trivia contest. Each year something new has been added, and over 1100 homemade and artisan pies are served annually. Read more at www.pieday.com.
Here are spotlights on featured events at Pie Day 2011.
Grasshopper Pie Walk at Pie Day
Guests at the annual Braham Pie Day do not have to set aside their fitness routine in order to attend the festival. Nature’s Way Chiropractic Clinic invites everyone to join them in the 3rd annual Grasshopper Pie Walk. Participants should meet Dr. Sara Ruther, Dr. Trevor Scanlon and massage therapist Jo Ellen Heath on West Central Drive at 9 a.m. to register. There is no fee, and prizes will be offered. The pie walking trails in Braham are open 365 days of the year and are clearly marked by cheery pie signs indicating the route.
High-energy musical groups
At the Pie Day stage are Tony Jambor and Friends formerly of the Bel Ray Ballroom, the St. Anthony Brass Quintet from the Twin Cities, Kaivama with music from Finland, Heatherlyn, and the Pie-Alluia Chorus. From 7 – 10 p.m. three rock bands perform at the stage. On Sunday, Aug. 7, visitors can participate in the evening Community Praise event where they will hear local blue grass and gospel performers.
9th Annual Sweet As Pie Car Show
Vintage and collector’s cars will appear on 3rd Street SW during Braham Pie Day in the Sweet as Pie Collector’s Car Show on Friday, August 5. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. All are invited to vote for the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced on the main stage just before the pie auction. Sponsors for the show are Family & Friends of Doug Severson and Star 95 Car Wash. Questions– call Steve Wilson at 320-396-3586.
Calling all Pie Bakers!
Braham Area Committee for Kids (BACK) invites all amateur pie bakers to make their favorite pie and enter the Amateur Pie Day pie-baking contest on Friday, August 5. Categories for the contest include: fresh fruit and/or cream, single-crust baked (includes custard pies), double-crust baked, Children’s division (ages 8-12 years), Apprentice division (ages 13-17), and the Lifetime Achievement (ages 70-plus).
There is an entry fee for each pie. Bakers should deliver their pies between 8 – 10 a.m. to the Braham Lutheran Church located at West Central Drive and Co. Rd. 4. The judges will judge pies on looks, taste, and texture. Smith Auction House will auction off pies in each category at 3 p.m. in the park, with comments from the famous pie judges Marjorie Johnson, famous for her appearance with Jay Leno, John Michael Lerma of “Garden Country Cookbook,” and Rose McGee, famous for her sweet potato pies.
Two Pie-Eating contests
Speedy pie eating is the action at the Junior and Senior Pie-Eating Contests– 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. in Freedom Park. The winners will get their 15 minutes of fame and possibly a photo in the local papers following the event. Each competitor eats a whole pie made of graham cracker crust filled with blueberries and topped with whipped cream.
Park and Ride at Pie Day
For ease and convenience in parking, Braham Pie Day guests can choose to park and ride between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The Chisago Isanti Heartland Express does the driving and picks up passengers at the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Elmhurst Commons and Park Manor and drops them at City Hall. Organizers of the Small Quilts Show and the Pie-cycle Show, located on 2nd St. SW, invite bus riders to visit their exhibits while waiting for the shuttle.
For more information, visit www.pieday.com or call 320-396-4956.