May 27, 2016

Rotary Pizza Challenge a savory success - By Michelle Libby

Sebago Lake Rotary and Interact Club

The Sebago Lake Rotary Club’s sixth annual pizza challenge drew hundreds of people last Thursday night. The smell of cheesy pizza hung in the air at the old Card Smart location at the Windham Mall, while hungry patrons tasted the various flavors of pizza from area restaurants, convenience stores and even schools. 

“It all goes to charity,” said Rotary president Deb McPhail. The money goes to various charitable organizations. Last year they helped the Windham Food Pantry, Life Flight, Camp Sunshine and Windham Backpack Program. They evaluate each donation as requests come in. 

“Everybody has a smile on their face. It’s wildly successful. I’ve never collected so much money from people with smiles,” said Rotary member Peter Brunette. 

Pizzas were donated, at least 15 from each store with some bringing 60 pizzas and others going back for a second order. Flavors included taco, pizza with a red hot dog in the crust, s’more pizza, steak and cheese and so many more.

People have asked that the event be held twice a year, but McPhail doesn’t want to burn out the vendors and locations to host the event are at a premium. “We’ve had a hard time finding a venue in Windham,” she said. 

Places serving were Crazy Stallion Pizza Pie Factory, Rose’s Italian Restaurant, Little Caesars Pizza, Pat’s Pizza Windham, Sunset Variety, Deck House Sports Tavern, Portland Pie Westbrook, Masa Sub and Grill, Pizza Hut, Duck Pond Variety, Pearson’s at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, Sebago Cafe (Windham) and Jane Watson, who served cake that looked like pizzas. 
The returning champs were Crazy Stallion from the UFO Store in Naples. Judges Tom Nash, from Windham-Raymond Adult Education, Peter Bodwell, chef at Sudbury Inn in Bethel and Jason Hilton, manager at Hannaford in Windham, tested all of the pizzas to determine best meat, best crust and most creative. 

This year’s award winners were: Best meat – Masa Sub and Grill, best crust – Pearson’s at Saint Joseph's College of Maine. Most creative by the judges and the people’s vote was The Crazy Stallion Pizza Pie Factory!

In addition to the pizzas, Molly’s Cupcakes, Deb Hall and Lee Trailer Sales & Service all donated desserts for the bake sale table. There was also a silent auction featuring gift baskets, artwork, tickets and more, all donated by Rotarians and businesses, with the profits helping around the area. 

This year 10 Interact kids from Windham High School came to help. Interact is a junior version of Rotary. They manned tables and helped with the clean up. 

Sebago Lake Rotary has 23 members and meets at Rose’s Italian Restaurant on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. “It’s a small group for all we do,” said McPhail. The Rotary hosts the ice fishing derby, Feet for Food and various outreach events in the community. For more information about the organization, visit 

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