I am so excited we’re going to The Pie Festival this year! We used to go every year when we lived in Flagstaff, AZ and Pie Town, NM was a mere 4 hour drive from us. Since we moved and now have to fly, we have not gone back, but this year we decided to make it happen. ”What is the Pie Festival?”, you may be wondering. Only one of the best kid-friendly events around. What do you do at the Pie Festival? Eat pie, of course! Where is Pie Town? Well, Pie Town is in remote western New Mexico about 3 hours drive west of Albuquerque. It sits on the Continental Divide and apparently is a common stopping point for people who bike across the country. We go there for the climbing at an amazing crag called Enchanted Tower (or Datil, to the locals).
The climbing and camping is breathtaking and kid friendly. It has a short approach (although it is uphill, so it might require carrying some kids) and routes from 5-easy to 5.13. Our oldest daughter climbed for the first time there at the tender age of 2 and first camped there at 6 months old. The camping at Datil Well campground is superb. There is water, a nice nature trail and at night you can see shooting starts and the Milky Way. Be aware that Datil and Pie Town can get pretty cold at night. Since the region lies at 6500 feet elevation, the season for camping and climbing is late spring through early fall. But enough about climbing and camping, back to the Pie Festival. Besides the pie eating and pie baking contests, there are tons of old fashioned festival games run by none other than the Pie Lady herself, Nita. These games include a 3 legged race, water balloon toss, a sack race and many more. Everyone eventually wins a prize they get to pick out of Nita’s collection of treasures.
My favorite game has to be the horned toad race. Basically, you catch a horned toad and write a number on it in permanent marker (so you know which horned toad is yours at the end of the race). Then all the horned toads are released in the middle of a circle only to freeze in fear. As soon as the first toad so much as moves a leg, everyone cheers only to have the toads freeze again. Eventually, one toad is bold enough to exit the circle and is declared the winner. The festival takes place the second weekend of September and concludes with a good old fashioned barn dance. I have to boast and say we were the first of our climber friends to have a kid and now our friends have followed suit and we have a second! I expect 3 infants to be there this year as well as a toddler and our Kindergardener just from the climbers we know! If you manage to find yourself in Pie Town for the Pie Fest (September 10), we’ll see you there and be sure to get yourself a slice of New Mexican Apple Pie. It’s the best apple pie you’ve ever tasted with pine nuts and green chile added in for extra kick. If, by chance, you pass through Pie Town at a time other than the Pie Festival, you can still partake in amazing pie at the Pie-o-Neer (our favorite) or the Good Pie Cafe.