You’ll have to indulge me for a few minutes while I blast into the past. I can’t help it. I attended the local pie palooza a few weeks ago–an event which is now a well-loved tradition at the school where I taught for many years–and it had me remembering why I’m now the proud playwright of three plays all about pie.
The story of how I ended up elbow deep in pie dough and whip cream as a playwright begins many years ago when my fellow teachers and I were in a staff meeting. In a moment of inspiration, I brought up the idea of having a winter fundraiser for the school. Now please believe me when I say that this is very unlike me. I’ve never been one to enjoy anything to do with sales, marketing, or fundraising. But I had remembered reading about an event another tiny little school had done under the theme of pie. And I thought to myself, well, if a fundraiser can be all about pie, then it couldn’t be all bad.
And sure enough, that particular winter, we designed an event that was to be part play, part pie contest, and part pie auction and called it the “Pie Palooza.” I wrote a script entitled In a Pickle at the Pie Palooza and recruited my middle school class as the cast. We drummed up some excitement around town about the pie contest and managed to snag a real auctioneer to manage the bidding for pies donated by community members. And that first year, the Pie Palooza proved itself to be something I didn’t think existed. It was a fundraiser that was actually fun!
The play I wrote and directed, In a Pickle at the Pie Palooza, told the story of a little town out in the middle of nowhere that was holding a pie contest. You can check out that particular script here: https://funmiddleschoolplays.com/book/in-a-pickle-at-the-pie-palooza/ My middle schoolers proved hilarious on stage against a background made of cardboard and wielding a few props from the thrift store. The crowd loved the performance. Not to mention the delicious leftover pie served as refreshments. they also loved bidding on whole pies to take home, knowing they were donating to the school and a good cause.
Our first Pie Palooza was such a bonafide hit that we repeated it the following year. I wrote and directed a second play, A Question of Pie. And when the school held a third Pie Palooza, I wrote All’s Fair in Love and Pie to wrap up the story of the Pie Palooza characters. You can check out all three plays at this link: https://funmiddleschoolplays.com/series/pie-palooza/
I am convinced that any middle school anywhere could pull off a pie palooza and have a lot of fun doing it. My advice and suggestions for how to host your own Pie Palooza event can be found here: https://funmiddleschoolplays.com/fundraiser-play-ideas/ It’s all the wisdom gained from many years of pie palooza success.
Blasting into a pie-filled past should have its advantages for everyone.