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Matthew Cunha Matthew Cunha
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Whoopie Pie Festival a sweet experience

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Samples of whoopie pies from Whoopie Pie Cafe being offered to festivalgoers. Samples of whoopie pies from Whoopie Pie Cafe being offered to festivalgoers. (edge photo by Matthew Cunha)

Festival’s eighth year brings over 7,000 to Dover-Foxcroft 

According to event organizer Patrick Myers, the Whoopie Pie festival started from an ordinary roundtable discussion. “There were blueberry and all other kinds of festivals, why couldn’t there be a whoopie pie one,” said Myers. “I tossed out the idea and everyone loved it.”

The idea came about when looking for fundraiser ideas for Center Theatre in downtown Dover-Foxcroft. The event is now the Theatre’s biggest fundraiser, according to Myers, who added that vendors are recruited to the festival to show off their whoopie pies.

Walking towards the entrance to the festival, the first thing you see is all the people. The festivities began at 10; when I arrived at 11, downtown Dover was already full. The weather was rainy earlier in the day, but had cleared off. Admission into the festival was $5; kids 12 and under got in free. That admission price also included a bag along with four tokens to be used for Whoopie Pie samples. Also included in the bag was a golden token to be handed out to your favorite vendor.

Eighties cover band Destroy Them My Robots was playing when I entered. I walked by the normal food court up Main St. (where all the non-Whoopie Pie vendors were located). Dozens of different crafts, clothes, foods, etc. were being sold. One of the vendors even had fidget spinners.

But clearly, my main focus was on finding these Whoopie pies.

I saw a large school bus full of people arriving from the free shuttle; I figured I just had to follow the crowd. Sure enough, within seconds I was amidst the large lines of people waiting to sample and buy Whoopie pies.

I ended up walking all the way through the Whoopie Pie Zone to develop my plan of attack. The lines were rather long, so I had to choose wisely. For me, it was about sampling unique flavors, so the goal was to choose the vendor with the most options.

Whoopie Pie Cafe was where I found myself. Four samples: blueberry pancake, strawberry shortcake, mocha and original. All excellent, though I don’t think I can explain to you just how unique and flavorful the strawberry shortcake and blueberry pancake Whoopie pies were.

I planned on buying one. I ended up with four - two blueberry and two strawberry. One of them was spoken for, but the rest were mine. One stand, four samples, four Whoopie pies.

After purchasing four more samples for a dollar, I went on the search for a pumpkin chocolate chip Whoopie pie as specially requested by another one of my pals. This time, I found myself at the Freshie’s stand. They offered pumpkin chocolate chip along with four different fillings. Enticed, I used my samples to enjoy pumpkin chocolate chip with each flavor. The plain and chocolate frostings were good, but the cream cheese and peanut butter frosting was another delicious, difficult-to-articulate flavor.

I walked away with two more Whoopie pies.

The crowds grew. With a full stomach, I decided to call it quits, but the Whoopie pie anticipation was still strong. Were I able to continue, I would have. But it was time to walk away.

The festival announced several winners. The best flavored Whoopie pie was Governor’s Restaurant in Old Town for their Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie. Coming in second was Shaw’s Supermarkets for their red velvet Whoopie pie, while third place went to the Freshie’s pumpkin chocolate chip with peanut butter filling (I tried that one!). Governor’s was also the winner in the best traditional Whoopie pie category, followed by Sweetie Pies and Peace of Mind Baking Company. Sweetie Pies took home the people’s bakery choice award while RH Foster/Freshie’s came in second and Governor’s Restaurant rounded out the top three.

“Once the rain stopped the weather was great and we couldn't be happier to show off our community to so many people,” said Myers.

The festival that started as just a roundtable idea has become a great experience, and not just as a place to devour Whoopie pies (although that’s fantastic in and of itself). It was pretty great seeing a town of 4,000 completely fill its streets. Anytime small-town Maine can do that, it makes me feel good about the state I call home.

Sign me up for next year. June 23, 2018 – I’ll see you there.


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