Get Ready: U.P. Town to Host the ‘World’s First’ Pasty Olympics
The annual Pasty Fest returns to honor the unique cultural cuisine of the Upper Peninsula. It takes place in the village of Calumet within the Keweenaw Peninsula and is set to host the Pasty Olympics on August 19, scheduled from noon to 4 pm. According to the festival’s website, the new event is “probably a world’s first.”
Alongside the festival’s longstanding baking contest and pasty eating competition, this year’s festivities will introduce Olympic-style challenges that infuse a strongman-like essence into the Pasty Fest. These events are designed to pay homage to the history and heritage of pasties and Keweenaw’s copper mining legacy.
Among the fresh additions, the Pasty Relay presents teams with the task of racing against each other to craft a gigantic pasty. To achieve this, they employ pool noodles as rolling pins and utilize mops for applying an egg wash. Awards will be presented for the quickest completion time, the most visually appealing creation, and the most imaginative team costumes.
More pasty festivities
Simultaneously, participants in the newly introduced Pasty Pull will confront the challenge of channeling the sheer power of pasties as they try to haul a truck down a 100-foot track along one of Calumet’s historic streets in the shortest time possible.
A brand-new event at Pasty Fest is the Pasty Fest Art Prize competition, currently underway, showcasing twenty-four artistic works centered around pasties. The collection includes various artistic mediums, including paintings, mixed media compositions, crochet pieces, and even a miniature copper pasty sculpture. The artwork can be viewed in an online virtual gallery until August 18. People can also cast their votes for their favorite pieces.
When thinking about the Upper Peninsula, some people instantly think of its pasties. Dubbed the “pot pie without a pot,” pasties have solidified their status as a culinary hallmark of northern Michigan. These handheld pastries are known not only for their variety of flavors but also for their role in Michigan’s history.
According to Michigan Technological University, pasties originated in England as far back as 1150. Pasties made their way to the United States through Cornish miners who immigrated during the 1840s. Miners loved them because they were perfect for their long shifts. They were also easy to carry into the mines, kept them full, and stayed warm for up to ten hours.