SYCAMORE – Larry Zevnik was a bit nervous going into the Sycamore Public Library’s pie-eating contest Thursday.
“This is going to be ugly,” said Zevnik, head of adult services at the library. “I’ve never done a pie-eating contest before.”
The contest was part of Sycamore Public Library’s second annual Pi Day celebration, which recognizes the mathematical constant of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, 3.14. In addition to the pie-eating competition and a pie-tasting contest, the library, at 103 E. State St., held an Albert Einstein look-alike contest in honor of the scientist’s birthday, which also falls on March 14.
The library began celebrating the event last year in an effort to get children more involved with their education.
“We want people to have fun with learning,” said Sarah Tobias, director of the library.
Tobias, who was the official judge of the pie-eating contest, announced the rules beforehand. Contestants were to keep their hands behind their backs at all times and make sure their plates were left “clean as a whistle” to win.
On the count of 3.14, more than 20 children, teenagers and adults dove face first into their own slice of banana cream pie. Each contestant was given a quarter slice of the pies, which were donated by Sycamore Parkway Restaurant at 605 E. State St. in Sycamore.
The winner of the children’s competition was Sycamore Middle School eighth-grader Kat Salis. She placed second in last year’s competition, behind her older sister, Autumn Salis.
“I swear her family must practice this,” said Zevnik, as Kat quickly licked her plate clean before the other contestants.
Devin Moulton, a senior at Sycamore High School who placed second in the adult competition, said she joined the competition after Sycamore library’s young adult librarian and pie-contest coordinator Evelyn Lorence persuaded her.
Moulton, who showed exhaustion after the competition when she planted her face into her empty plate, said her pie-eating strategy simply was to suck it up and eat.
“I’ve never had a banana cream pie in my life,” she said. “And I never will again.”
Zevnik, who ended up placing third in the adult competition, said the event was a great way to recognize the number pi and how fun learning can be.
“The applications of it are far reaching,” he said. “And it really is just a number.”
Pie Eating Contest Winners
Children (through eighth grade)
1st place: Kat Salis, eighth-grader at Sycamore Middle School
2nd place: Libby Swedberg, seventh-grader at St. Mary’s in Sycamore
3rd place: Eli Bliujus, seventh-grader at St. Mary’s in Sycamore
Teens and adults
1st place: Jennifer McMahon, freshman at Sycamore High School
2nd place: Devin Moulton, senior at Sycamore High School
3rd place: Larry Zevnik, head of adult services at Sycamore Public Library
Tastiest Pie Awards
1st place: Kristina and Warren Olson, bourbon pecan pie
2nd place: Alice Mesjak and Essie McMahon, Oreo “no-bake” pie,
3rd place: John Latsis, French silk pie