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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.)

AND

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.

Kathleen Wall samples pudding.

 

 

Kathleen Wall of Plimoth Plantation has served as a judge at the Pudding Festival for several years now. 

   

She is always cheerful, thoughtful, and fun to be around. 

   

We thought you might enjoy watching her cook.  NATURALLY, she’s making Indian Pudding! 

   

Here is a link to her video. 

   

Happy Holidays, all………….. 

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2009 Pudding Head Paula Zindler

 
The 2009 Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival is over—and it was a success!
 
We were worried that the date (Halloween) might keep people away. It actually seems to have attracted them. Several festival-goers competed for the best costume prize, which went to local chef Marty Yaffee attired as “The Lion Chef.”
  
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The Lion Chef

 
Lunch was a mob scene (but a tasty one), thanks to the efforts of Juanita Clark and her family, along with Sandy Cronin.
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The kitchen crew was cheerful and efficient.

 
Our entertainment, “The Witches of Pudding Hollow,” involved the title witches, their hapless male counterparts, a couple of ghostly spirits, and a lot of laughs.
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Witch Melanie works her magic with John and Ray.

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The Reverend Jonathan Grout and Witch Pamela

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Musical Director Alice Parker

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Original Pudding Head Abigail Baker--a witch AND a chanteuse.

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Ghostly spirits of Pudding Hollow cement the witches' spell.

 
Our judges worked extra hard to discriminate among the novel puddings entered in the pudding contest. We had entries from five out of the six New England states. (New Hampshire, where art thou?)
 
Bob Hall of Maryland won a bag of apples as the contestant who came the farthest.
 
Here the replete judges announce the winners (left to right: Edie Clark, Kathleen Wall, Michaelangelo Wescott). Thanks to the generosity of our donors, everyone went home happy as well as full.
 
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Mardi Smith of Newtown, Connecticut, took home the prize for Spookiest Pudding with her Fright Night Pudding.

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New Pudding Head Paula Zindler of Cummington, Massachusetts, looked a little astonished at her victory, but it was well deserved.
 
Her luscious Pumpkin Gingerbread Pudding (pictured below) featured a creamy custard made with sun-colored local eggs.

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Congratulations to all–and especially to all of our volunteers for making the day so joyful!
 
One of our fabulous judges, Edie Clark, has written a blog post that sums up HER experience that day.  Do take a look!

Meanwhile, here are a few additional images, just for fun.
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Costumed contestants await the start of the Pudding Parade.

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A Table Full of Pudding

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MORE pudding!

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Paula De Fougerolles and her family entered FOUR puddings in the contest!

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Our actors weren't highly rehearsed, but no one seemed to mind!

 
EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS to Phyllis Gotta, our wonderful photographer, for her contributions to this site and to our big day………
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