Worlds (3rd) Largest Cherry Pie

Worlds (3rd) Largest Cherry Pie

Worlds (3rd) Largest Cherry Pie, photo by Allen Gathman.

February is National Cherry Month and there’s nothing more cherry than the cherry pie. The folks at Roadside America (who keep track of stuff like this) have this to say about the titanic battle for the World’s Largest Cherry Pie:

Charlevoix was the first into the mix. In 1976 a man named Dave Phillips, in a burst of bicentennial fervor, convinced local businesses in Charlevoix to bake the World’s Largest Cherry Pie as part of the town’s annual cherry festival. A giant pan was built, along with an equally titanic oven. Local farmers supplied the ingredients. The result: a cherry pie weighing 17,420 pounds. It was a world record.

Further south, the town of Traverse City had its own cherry festival. It had perhaps heard one too many boasts from Charlevoix, and in 1987 it decided to do something about it…

The Chef Pierre Bakeries went to work, and on July 25 it baked a cherry pie that put Charlevoix to shame: 28,350 pounds; 17 feet, 6 inches in diameter. As an added snub, the town had Guinness Book of World’s Records certify its pie as the largest ever. Charlevoix’s days in the spotlight were ended after only 11 years.

But time has a way of humbling the proud. The Chef Pierre Bakeries were bought out by Sara Lee. The cherry farms around Traverse City were turned into golf courses. Yuppies from downstate began invading the town, as they were invading Charlevoix. And in 1992, after only five years, Traverse City’s cherry pie crown was knocked clear into Canada when the tiny town of Oliver, British Columbia, baked a cherry pie for the ages — 39,683 pounds.

For some reason Oliver failed to save its pan, so you can still see the largest cherry pie pan in Traverse City here and get a sense of the scale right here.

Check Allen’s photo out bigger.

3 thoughts on “Worlds (3rd) Largest Cherry Pie

  1. i was in TC when they made the pie. Did you know they also debuted the cherrie 7up that day? We ate ALOT of pie and drank a gallon of 7up that day. I was only 9 but it is burned into my mind. That was back when my uncle still lived on a dirt road and there were no stip malls. it is still a pretty town but I am afraid it has seen its better days in the past. I hope it hasn’t but…


    1. Great story Kris! I live in Traverse City actually, and while we did see some strip mall action, the trend over the last decade plus has been to reuse and restore old buildings with tons of development focused downtown and where I work at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons aka Building 50. With projects like the State Theatre where Michael Moore and company base the Traverse City Film Festival every summer and The Filling Station, a new microbrewery at the restored train depot, I think TC is really doing it right!


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