The Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival is a unique event in a lovely New England setting. “A little bit country and a little bit Julia Child,” the festival highlights the many talents found in and around the hamlet of Hawley, Massachusetts—and gives cooks a chance to compete in a deliciously sweet historical fundraiser.
The festival is inspired by a historical event in Hawley. Around 1780, the town held a contest to determine who could create the largest pudding in Hawley. The eventual winner, Abigail Baker of West Hawley, made hasty pudding in a five-pail kettle. She was thereafter known as Pudding Head, and her home is still called Pudding Hollow.
The festival will take place on Sunday, September 28, at the historic Hawley Meeting House way up East Hawley Road in Hawley, Massachusetts. Its centerpiece will be a contest that remembers Abigail Baker. In this case flavor, not size, will characterize the winning pudding.
Here is the Schedule for the Day:
11 a.m. PUDDINGS ARRIVE. This means that if you are entering the contest—and we hope you will consider doing so—you and your pudding should be on site by 11. We are working on a few nearby activities for contestants and their families so that they won’t just be sitting around waiting while the judges sample pudding—although there is no more beautiful place to sit around than Hawley!
There is a $15 per pudding for entering the contest. All entry fees will go directly toward the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the Meeting House.
11:15 a.m. to 12:15 a.m. FARM TOUR at our neighboring dairy (and pudding contest donor!) Sidehill Farm. Sidehill doesn’t usually give tours on Sundays, but its owners have graciously agreed to entertain festival attendees who are waiting for lunch. Meet the cows, tour the business, and don’t forget to pick up some of Sidehill’s delicious yogurt or raw milk. (The farm store will be open at the end of the festival if you want to wait until then to purchase products, but the tour takes place only at 11:15.)
CIDER TASTING at Headwater Cider. Pudding contest donor Peter Mitchell makes New England-style hard cider right down the street from the Pudding Festival. He will open his factory to visitors the morning of the Pudding Festival to explain the process of cidermaking and discuss his cider blends.
12:15 p.m. LUNCH. We ask a donation for this feast, made by our volunteers, all fabulous home cooks. We will have cider to drink, donated by Clarkdale Fruit Farms, and ice cream for dessert from Bart’s Homemade Ice Cream. Please be as generous as you can!
1:30 p.m.-ish ENTERTAINMENT, PUDDING PARADE, AND JUDGING. Musical director Alice Parker and diva/cook Tinky Weisblat are hard at work crafting an entertainment that will laughingly (and musically) pay tribute to the role of cooking and pudding in our small town’s history.
After the announcement of the winners, audience members will be invited to come onstage to taste pudding. (Caveat emptor—or rather, eater: nibble at your own risk!)
We have designed this site to answer your questions about the rules, our donors, and the Sons & Daughters of Hawley, the historical society that sponsors this event. It will be updated as the date draws closer. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact festival organizer Tinky Weisblat.