Contestants will devour a dessert pie and help neighbors in need during Visit Gahanna’s inaugural pie-eating contest.

Laurie Jadwin, Visit Gahanna’s executive director, said Pies in the Park will feature the new pie-eating contest, with participants racing against the clock – and each other – to see who can eat a pie the fastest.

It will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at Friendship Park, 150 Oklahoma Ave.

She said competitors must eat their pies with their hands behind their backs.

Contestants will be divided into age groups based on ages of registrants, Jadwin said, with the winner of each age group receiving a $25 Easton Town Center gift certificate.

Cost to register is $5, with net proceeds benefiting Gahanna Residents In Need, a community-wide, faith-based organization committed to helping the residents of the Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District. To sign up, go to PiesInThePark.com.

Jadwin said Gahanna businesses will showcase some of the area’s best pizzas at the event.

“Pies in the Park presents a wonderful opportunity for guests to be introduced to a new pizza or eatery they perhaps have never visited before,” she said. “We have heard from many residents who said that they discovered a new ‘go-to pizza place’ after attending the event last year.”

Participating businesses are Coaches Gahanna, 230 Granville St.; Gatsby’s, 151 N. Hamilton Road; The Goat, 6400 Preserve Crossing Blvd.; Jet’s Pizza, 960 N Hamilton Road; Marco’s Pizza, 5310 N. Hamilton Road; Mr. T’s Pizza, 207 W. Johnstown Road; and Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery, 1249 N. Hamilton Road, which will offer “pie-inspired” cupcake flavors.

Buckeye Candy Co., 104 Granville St., will bring some sweet twists to pizza and pie, said Jay Sokol, who owns the business with his wife, Shana Sokol.

“We will have bite-size gummy pizzas, as well as a 6-inch pizza made entirely out of different candies,” he said. “We also will be bringing some items reflecting some of our favorite pies, from pumpkin pie to apple pie and everything in between.”

Attendees may vote on their favorite pizza pies of the day, with categories including Best Crust, Best Sauce, Best Herbal Topping and People’s Choice for Overall Favorite Pizza.

In a nod to Gahanna’s designation as the Herb Capital of Ohio, the Ohio Herb Center will offer create-your-own herbal dipping oils.

In addition to the pizza and pies, Jadwin said, Adult & Teen Challenge Columbus, Ohio will be on hand with hot dogs and kettle corn for the non-pizza eaters in the family.

She said adults would have an opportunity to sample new fall flavors from Gahanna’s own Noble Cut Distillery, which recently was recognized by the New York Times as an up and coming Ohio distillery.

A variety of beverages may be purchased, including craft beers, wine, soft drinks and water.

Reelin’ in the Years and Rewind 103.5/104.3 will provide live music.

Free family activities that focus on outdoor fun will be available, as New Life Church will provide inflatables, yard games and shaved-ice treats.

The Gahanna Historical Society will hold an open house at the Historical Settlement, 101 S. High St., offering a view of the area’s historical buildings and samples of apple butter.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Tickets for samples from food vendors may be purchased for $1.50 each, and each vendor will determine how many tickets they will require.

Parking will be available at Friendship Park; Mifflin Presbyterian Church, 123 Granville St.; Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Park, 73 W. Johnstown Road; the city lot at Town and High streets; and the Creekside Garage, 121 Mill St.

For information, go to www.PiesInThePark.com or call Visit Gahanna at 614-418-9114.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla