The weekend before Labor Day we took off for yet another road trip, this one with plans to go up the east coast as far as Newfoundland, but first we had to stop in Greensburg, Pennsylvania for a wedding. But there is no sense in going somewhere without finding something unusual to see or do, and this day was no different. Before the wedding we stopped in Latrobe to visit the Banana Split Festival.
The city of Latrobe celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of the banana split in 2004 and, in the same year, the National Ice Cream Retailers Association certified Latrobe as its birthplace. It is the place of an annual Great American Banana Split Celebration and a keeper of the original soda fountain where the first confection was made by David Strickler, an apprentice pharmacist at Tassel Pharmacy. The downtown area was filled with vendors selling various items. The festival t-shirt sported the slogan “you had me at bananas” referring to the Jerry Maguire movie quote “you had me at hello.”. It seemed everything, and everyone had gone bananas.
We stayed long enough to see the pie eating contest. A table with 48 pies proudly warming up in the morning sun waiting on the contestants, who were lined up on a very long table set up along a sidewalk. Most appeared to have entered from challenges from friends, approximately 20 people in all (many pies were left unchallenged). With looks ranging from concern to amusement the contest began. Almost immediately one of the contested reached over and rammed her friends face into his pie!
90 Second late it was over…the champion from last year won again this year by eating a complete banana cream pie loaded with whip cream topping and the crust in less than 90 seconds. Most of the other people had barely started on theirs. By doing this he received a decorated belt with a silver metal engraved buckle presented to him by the designer of the belt that would put most big time wrestling belts to shame. In addition the winner won $100 and the honor of posing with a giant cookie from the sponsor and provider of the pies, Eat N Park.
Oh yes – the guy who had his contested messed up by the pie push got his revenge.
The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent at the wedding and reception, held at Lakeview in Greensburg, where they have a replica Statue of Liberty. At the end of the reception there were fireworks, where with the right angle it looked like the real thing.