At picnics, festivals, fairs and even backyard celebrations, contests and games of chance can provide revelers a fun and competitive way to enjoy the festivities. Competitive eating contests are a traditional ice-breaker that offer food and sport in one package. And little compares to the hands-free fun of pie eating contests—with the proper setup and a few basic rules, any celebration can host a food free-for-all.
Competitions can split into two categories: contestants must eat a certain amount of pie before others, or contestants have a time limit in which to eat as much pie as possible. Although the first type of game requires no time limit, the second version does and should consider a few caveats. The amount of pie available, the contestants participating and whether or not a particular game is the only one scheduled should be factored into the rules concerning time limits. For example, kids are not inclined to eat pie for 20 minutes straight and if you have three rounds of pie eating scheduled, you may not want to make revelers wait for long periods of time to compete. Whatever the case, time limits should be set at the beginning of the match and monitored by someone not distracted with pie-eating.
Pie-eating contests come in many varieties but most share a common hilarious rule: no hands. This forces the competitors to dig into pies face-first and makes for a messy good time. However, the rules governing hand usage can vary and should be considered before an event. Simply holding your hands behind your back may suffice for small picnics or parties while some fairs and stricter competitions will actually bind the hands of those in the contest. In any case, putting hands to the mouth or into pie filling is generally grounds for disqualification.
As per most eating competitions, vomiting during a contest is an automatic disqualification. A sign of overloading or an inability to take on any more food, vomiting is also a safeguard for those who binge too much during the festivities. In addition to the vomiting rule, some competitions add rules about spitting out food, pushing too much food on the floor and lap or even stuffing food into the cheeks at the end of the competition. As necessary, apply these rules to a contest to weed out any over-doers or tricksters.
Depending on the type of pie being eaten during the contest, some food-specific rules may be added to liven the competition. For example, some contests use an apple pie without the aluminum pie tray and ask that contestants not break the bottom crust or risk disqualification. Rules of this nature can be added for competitive or even comedic effects. Factor in toppings like whipped cream or even the ingredients of the pie or crust that can add a creative spin to a pie-eating contest's rules.