By Merisa Sherman
The crowd gathered slowly, but you could feel the energy was there, just under the surface and waiting for the excitement that was to come. It was a subdued kind of energy, with people quietly chatting while they ate their lunches, sipping on local draft beer and catching up with friends they hadn’t seen in a while. It was almost as if the afternoon energy was on hold while we waited, waited for the leader of the band to get his act together and start the show.
When the mc did finally show up the crew was ready. T-shirts were handed out, as well as the controversial ear plugs. There were discussion about whether it was legal to use shower caps or if one should just tighten your hard down as much as possible. And swim goggles? Those are only allowed if you have to wear contacts and they better be crazy cat goggles! Those who had lost their hair years ago smirked, knowing they finally had the advantage on this playing field. The outfits were crazy, the tension was building and finally the announcement came over the mic for the local celebrities to gather for a “Before Photograph.”
At the ticket desk, the money was flying as people waited in line to purchase all manner of pies. A whipped cream pie, an electric green pudding pie topped with whipped cream or one of the eighty actual Mendon Mountain Orchards Pumpkin Pies that had been donated. My job was selling tickets for the tea cup raffle and I couldn’t make arm length raffle tickets fast enough. Together with Brandi, we felt like we were selling tickets to a sold out show by the Beatles or something. The speed of our arms contrasted sharply to the sweet tunes being sung by Duane Carleton.
The money was flying and so were we.
But these pies weren’t for eating. They were for smashing. Smashing into the face of one of the amazing local celebrities who had agreed to suffer this absolutely disgusting torture to benefit a most amazing person and music lover — Chase Kuehl. A young boy who fell in love with music at a young age, he will stand right in front of the stage and refuse to leave, he will hold your hand and dance with you when he’s really feeling it.
Chase also loves pudding. And what is more fun than watching your family and good friends get smashed in the face with a pie full of whipped cream? Watching them try and get the whip cream off their face, out of their eyes and ears (remember the ear plugs?) And most difficult part? Getting that stale milk out of you hair, hence the controversial shower caps only approved for use if you have dreadlocks. It’s a crazy afternoon of flying dairy products with people laughing until they cannot stand up anymore.
What kind of person would pay money to pie their friends in the face? Everyone and anyone! My mom finally had the courage to pie one of her favorites in the face this year — and even gave him a kiss afterwards to steal some of that delicious Stewart’s Shops whipped cream! There is a kid pie-ing their dad, a mom and dad tag lovingly tag teaming their only son, a member of the Killington Active Seniors pie-ing her lawn guy, a young gymnastics coach pie-ing her boss, and the list goes on and on and on.
It’s a contest — each local heckling you into buying another pie for their face and another and another. Over 600 pies went flying into faces over a 5 hour period. That has to be a world record. Kind of like the dunk tank at the state fair, only it takes a few minutes to dry off while it takes a few days to get all the rotting dairy out of your eyes and ears. But no body cares, because Chase and his family are wonderful human beings who give so much back to our community.
And so this community raised over $30,000 the only way we know how — by showing each other how much we care by smashing pies in each other’s faces, buying arm after arm of raffle tickets and bidding on silent auction items. If it wasn’t for Chase, I would have no idea what Phelan-McDermid Syndrome was — especially since only 2,500 children have been diagnosed world wide. But together, this community is making a difference. Not only for Chase, but for the estimated 1 in a million children who remain undiagnosed, their parents struggling to understand the struggles their child endures on a daily basis. If we can make their lives just a little bit easier, isn’t that what friends and community are for — to help each other live their own dreams?
To learn more, go to pieinthefaceforchase.com. See you at the 10th annual Pie in the Face for Chase next year.