Parsons Invitational Pie-makers Society History
In 2000 when Parsons suffered a devastating tornado, Susan Jack organized a group of volunteers including Mary Hughes, Jackie Payne, and Peggy Gentry called ‘Hands On Parsons’ to help the community recover. One of the activities they did to raise money was to set up a booth and sell pies and ice cream in the park during Katy Days. The next year Mary Hughes wanted to take it over and have it be an annual event and the Parsons Invitational Pie Society was born (PIPS). Mary and Peggy have been on the PIPS committee from the beginning . The pie sales moved into the air-conditioned Arvon Phillips Recreation Center that year and continues to be held there.
From those small beginnings over 10 years ago, the PIPS have grown to last year’s total of 80 pie makers, which included 4 men, donating 196 pies in more than 30 varieties. Volunteers are found by committee members who begin calling their lists of pie bakers about May 1st (send out a May Day plea for help!). Each year members are encouraged to call additional friends because they always need more pies. Fruit pies and pies made with cool whip, or cream cheese are accepted from these volunteers, who buy all the ingredients themselves, then donate the pies. Peggy Gentry said the committee considers home made pie baking an art that could soon become lost in the modern world of pre-made frozen offerings and chain-grocery store bakeries.
In 2008, regulatory guidelines from the Kansas Dept. of Agriculture restricted the type of pies that could be sold during public events. After that ruling, the PIPS were no longer able to sell any pudding/meringue pies, so for the 2009 sale, members printed their favorites in a recipe book, “Save Room for Pie”. This way they were able to provide the recipes for all types of pies, those sold at their event and those that could no longer be sold but had become favorites of Katy Days patrons through the years.
Bev Wood’s Raspberry-Rhubarb entry was selected as the Featured Pie for 2012 and Bev was given the honor of Featured Pie Maker. This honor is bestowed on members based on their reputation of being excellent in preserving the art of baking homemade pies, and of having been involved in many civic and volunteer efforts throughout the community, including having baked and donated many pies for PIPS Katy Days sales.
Pies will be sold on Saturday, May 25, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Prices will remain the same: $2.00 per slice, $12 for 9” pie and $14 for 10” pie.