The ‘Pasty Olympics’ set to be hosted by town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Photo by Keith Dunlap (GMG)

Who says this isn’t an Olympic year?

For what has been dubbed by organizers as “probably a world’s first,” a town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is set to offer a unique twist to the Olympics.

Every summer, the town of Calumet in the northernmost tip of the Upper Peninsula hosts a pasty festival, an event to celebrate the popular food in the region.

As part of this year’s festival that will take place on Saturday, Aug. 19, is what’s being called the “Pasty Fest Olympics,” which will feature various events that will involve pasties and test the strength, speed and skill of competitors.

A pasty (pronounced PAST-y, not PAY-sty) is a baked pastry or pie that is filled with meat, potatoes and vegetables and can be eaten by hand.

The popularity if the pasty in the Upper Peninsula came about after laborers from Cornwall, England, rushed to the region in the 1800s to mine for copper, and brought pasty recipes with them, according to an article on NPR.

Events that comprise the “Pasty Olympics” will be the following, according to the festival’s website:

  • A Pasty Relay Race. In this event, competitors in teams of four will attempt to assemble a giant pasty in four stages. The stages will be combining and 1.) Mixing ingredients to make the crust in a large mixing bowl, 2.) Adding the filling by using a foam needle to roll dough and add filling ingredients, 3.) A pinch & crimp where participants enclose the pasty with their fingers, and 4.) Giving the pasty an egg wash shine by using a mop. After all four stages are done, contestants will race to the top of a mountain with their pasties to complete the course.
  • Pasty art prize competition. Artists will be encouraged to submit pasty-themed artwork that will be displayed in local businesses. The final votes will be announced on Saturday.
  • Truck pull. Participants will pull a truck as fast as they can down a street in Calumet, Michigan.
  • Pasty bake-off. This is a competition where vendors submit 100 pasties that are four ounces, and those who taste them can submit their vote for the best one by turning in a toothpick from the pasty they liked best to a judging booth.
  • Pasty eating contest. There will be 12 contestants who will battle it out to see who can eat the most pasties in five minutes (no word on if Joey Chestnut will be making an appearance.)
  • Car show. There will be two categories for people to compete in and win, the owner’s choice custom and the people’s choice.
  • Horseshoe tournament. Teams of two players will battle it out to see who is the best at tossing horseshoes.

Prizes will be awarded in each event for winners.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.