February 26, 2010

Eating pizza for a cause

EMMA BOUTHILLETTE

— By

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — While football fanatics are gearing up for the Super Bowl, Portland Rotary Club is preparing the Second Annual Pizza Bowl this Saturday. It was an idea it adopted from a Rotary club in New Hampshire, trying it for the first time last year, Pizza Bowl Committee member Ellen Niewoehner said.

''They had been doing these pizza bowls for five years. It was one of their most successful fundraisers,'' she said.

The Portland Rotary Club recruited local business for the friendly competition and expected about 250 people to attend. Niewoehner said people started lining up a half hour before the event even started last year, with a total of 500 people sampling slices.

''It was a big success,'' she said, raising about $3,000. ''People get the opportunity to try many different types of pizza from a variety of places, and it's just fun.''

Money raised this year will benefit The Salvation Army and other charities supported by the Portland Rotary. In addition to admission costs, the Rotary is asking participants to bring a nonperishable food item with them to the Pizza Bowl for The Salvation Army Food Pantry.

With 11 local pizza places on the roster this year, attendees will have the option of testing a cheese pizza and a specialty pizza from each place. Committee chairman Loretta Rowe said as people purchase their tickets, they will be given a tally sheet to keep track of the slices they taste. In the end, she said, they'll be asked to vote for their favorite pizza.

If you attended last year, Rowe said the official judging system has been changed. Throughout the day, ''celebrity'' judges will be conducting blind taste tests to determine which pizza has the best crust, best sauce, best cheese and best overall product, Rowe said. These categories will be awarded at the end of the day, in addition to the ''people's choice'' selection.

Rowe said in the categories judged by blind taste testing, no restaurant will be able to receive more than one ''best of'' award.

Niewoehner said the club is expecting just as good a turn out as last year, if not better.

''Come have fun, have lunch and enjoy time with friends and family. And it's all for a good cause,'' she said.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

ebouthillette@pressherald.com

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