Part of the crowd at the Moose on Tuesday evening.
Specialty pizza judges, left to right: Maureen Saponari, Bert Fall, John Schaffner (seated), Carrie Sanchez, Cole Hatfield.
Papa Jimmie’s winning specialty pizza.
Tuesday evening the parking lots at The Moose Lodge on Lakeshore Drive were full, as were the bellies of many of those leaving the 4th annual Port Clinton Rotary Pizza Challenge. 528 adults and 53 children sampled pizza from nine area restaurants and voted on their favorites.
Duane Waite, coordinator of the event, said that the Pizza Challenge was begun four years ago after he and his brother John enjoyed Sandusky Rotary 's Pizza Challenge and realized that it could work in Port Clinton. This is the second year it has been held at the Moose Lodge. Proceeds go to Rotary’s scholarship fund for local students.
“The price is right and the vendors take the competition very seriously,” said Waite. He noted that many people seemed to stay for an hour or so, enjoying the variety of pizza and visiting with family and friends. Throughout the three hour event, fresh and varied pizzas were continuously being delivered. “The average is ¾ of a pizza consumed per person,” said Waite.
A panel of high school students judged the best Pepperoni Pizza category, won by Sloopy's Sports Cafe in Lakeside.
The specialty pizza category was judged by a panel of Port Clinton Auditor Cole Hatfield, Schaffner Publications owner John Schaffner, Port Clinton Middle School Principal Carrie Sanchez, Salvation Army Director Maureen Saponari and WPCR's Bert Fall. The winner was Papa Jimmies’ BBQ and Pizza of Port Clinton, whose prize-winning specialty pizza featured peaches, BBQ chicken and bourbon sauce.
The people's choice winner was also Papa Jimmies, with second place going to Sloopy’s and third place to Bruno's of Marblehead.