A Grape (Pie) Day in North East
Members of the Holy Cross Episcopal Church make grape pies for the 37th Annual Wine Country Harvest Festival
Friday, Sept. 27-29
In North East, members of the Holy Cross Episcopal Church will once again be making grape pies to sell at the 37th Annual Wine Country Harvest Festival this upcoming weekend. This particular baked dish is a specialty regional to Western N.Y. and Northwest Pa., thanks to our area's Concord grapes. The congregation — along with their friends and family members from other surrounding churches and areas — plan to make more than 400 pies this year, significantly more than when they first began this annual tradition over 10 years ago.
The event, commonly referred to as "Pie Weekend" by church members and those participating, started in 2008 when another North East congregation decided they no longer wanted to make and sell the well-loved pies, leaving the position open for Holy Cross Church to fill. When Holy Cross first started baking the pies, they were crafted in the church's commercial kitchen before being carried down Main Street to Gibson Park, the epicenter of the wine festival, and sold in a tent there. In 2008 they sold roughly 175 pies.
Since then, Pie Weekend (aka Wine Fest weekend to the general public) has become a main source of funds for the church. Earnings have allowed them to donate to multiple charities and organizations to help those in need. The baking team at Holy Cross has more than doubled their production, and simplified the process by setting up a booth on their own lawn on the corner of Pearl Street to sell freshly baked goods. Last year, they sold more than 400 grape pies, with handmade and rolled crusts, and filling made from local Concord grapes.
Besides the grape pies, Holy Cross sells other locally-made baked goods. In the past, they have had homemade breads, scones, caramel corn, and other pastries.
Pies are sold whole or by the slice in Holy Cross's booth during the wine festival. This year, organizers expect, and gladly hope, the pies to sell out before the end of the three-day event. To avoid this and ensure that everyone with a hankering for local grape pie can get their fill, the church has opened the sale to pre-orders. — Hannah McDonald
Friday through Sunday // 51 W. Main Street, North East, PA 16428 // Pre-orders call (814) 725-4679