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‘What do we do with all these pies?’

Ely Kiwanis Club stunned by storm, community support

Tom Kobierski
Posted 7/28/21

Now what? Ely Kiwanis Club members thought, as they woke up Saturday morning to the devastating news that the Blueberry/Art Festival had been cancelled. Some members were early to arrive back at the …

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‘What do we do with all these pies?’

Ely Kiwanis Club stunned by storm, community support

Posted

Now what? Ely Kiwanis Club members thought, as they woke up Saturday morning to the devastating news that the Blueberry/Art Festival had been cancelled. Some members were early to arrive back at the park to pick up the pieces, and others, who were hit by power outages, soon straggled in.
By 9 a.m., the log pavilion was cleared, and a plan for the additional 250 pies ready for Saturday sale had been hatched. Laurie Bambas, one of our Kiwanians, got the OK from her family, who owns the Ely Steakhouse, to set up shop in front of their business. Paul Zupancich, approached family member Jimmy Z., manager at the Zup’s Food Store, and got the OK to set up a table inside the store.
So, the club was in business, and the scramble was on to work out details. Word quickly spread by mouth and social media that pie sales would start at 10 a.m. The big question became, Would people come out and buy our pies?
The answer was, Yes! In a short period of time, people were lining up to buy whole pies; not just one, but two, then four, and as the word spread around town and became more organized, groups from book clubs were buying 18, neighborhoods wanted 13, card club members took 10 more, and on and on.
Work went on behind the scenes boxing pies fresh out of the EBCH kitchen for delivery to the selling stations. Those stations were soon filled with a festive atmosphere as townspeople walked up with supportive comments, and car after car pulled up curbside to order and pick-up pies. At times, it was like an old-fashioned high school carwash with members flashing poster signs to passing motorists.
After three hours and 180 pies sold, more newly-baked pies were too hot to box and sell, so the amazing run came to an end for the day. Imagine,180 blueberry pies sold-out in three hours!
Sunday should have been slower. It traditionally is for the club at the festival, but the results again proved to be remarkable. Gwen Bakken and JoEllyn Murphy, our hospital “angels” who have worked tirelessly over the years to prepare pies, mixed up and baked all the remaining ingredients ordered, so they could be used. That gave the club a total of 170-plus pies to sell on Sunday.
Soon, pie boxes became an issue as more were needed than normal, so a new way to protect and transport pies was developed on the spot. The result was that by noon, and after only two hours of sales, every pie was gone. The three days of sales totaled just under 600 pies.
Our Kiwanis Club was stunned by the generosity showed by Elyites and visitors. They are truly amazed with the results, and relieved and happy to report that they can once again support the local youth at a level accustomed to in the past.
Thanks to the Ely Steakhouse and Zup’s Food Store. Special thanks to local Angela Campbell for her timely support, and all the other volunteers who pitched in with their help. Thankseven to one of Ely’s local food truck vendors who used our location to meet up with and return a lost wallet. The man who got his wallet back was so happy that he bought three of our pies and gave one to the finder to show his gratitude. Only in Ely.
Most of all, thanks to the Elyites who realized how important it was to continue to support the Kiwanis cause of helping children locally and world-wide by buying our blueberry pies, and who also seem to know a good piece of pie when they see it! See you at the Harvest Moon Festival!

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