Market-goers will dive face-down into pumpkin pie Saturday at Harvest Festival

Children devour pumpkin pie during the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market 2014 Harvest Festival and Craft Show pie eating contest. (Courtesy of Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market.)

Around 6,000 visitors, 45 contestants, 25 pumpkin pies and no forks.

That’s the predicted count for the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market 15th annual Harvest Fair and Craft Show and pie eating contest on Saturday. The free event begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. at the market.

The event attracts three times more visitors than any other the market hosts, said Keith Starke, an organizer.

The pie-eating contest gets a little more competitive than other events, too, and is likely to draw some regulars again this year, he added.

“It’s almost like a hot dog eating contest,” he said. “People get really into it.”

The free-to-enter event is staggered into three age categories, and each is increasingly competitive, Starke said.

The first is for ages 3 to 7 and the second is for 8 to 15. Those 16 and up will be lumped together.

Contests begin at 1 p.m., with the youngest eating first.

Those interested can register online or walk up to the table and sit down at contest time, Starke said. The first 15 seated in each category will compete, and only about five are currently registered in each age group.

Because the event is free and the market eats the cost of desserts used in the contests, the pies won’t be made with the same local pumpkins sold at the market. They’ll be store bought, Starke said.

“We’re not as country as we can be,” he said.

Winners will get small gift cards for a market vendor, Starke said.

Local crafts and food will also be sold at the festival, which will allow kids to jump in a bouncy house, ride a pony and a pet farm animals for a small fee, Starke said.

For more information call the market’s office at (757) 358-4388 or visit

Reporter Judah Taylor can be reached at (757) 490-2750 or

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