The call for entries has begun for the 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off.
This year’s contest has four categories with two online entry periods. From now until March 27, entries for Simply Sweet Treats and Savory Snacks & Sides, will be accepted. Entries in the Weekend Breakfast Wows and Amazing Doable Dinners categories can be submitted from March 27 to May 8.
Finalists will be notified in June. This year’s contest will culminate in the finals competition Nov. 3, in Nashville, where a $1 million grand prize is up for grabs.
New this year, a vote of the people will be combined with judge’s decisions to determine the grand prize winner. This year’s ingredient list has been expanded to include Pillsbury’s gluten-free products.
Visit www.bakeoff.com to enter or to view official contest rules and regulations.
Maple sugar events
Hale Farm & Village, 2686 Oak Hill Road, Bath Township, will hold its 2014 Maple Sugar Festival & Pancake Breakfast from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15, 16, 22, and 23.
The festival includes tree tapping demonstrations, tours of the sugar bush, samples of local syrups, oxen demonstrations and more.
Admission, which includes breakfast provided by Bob Evans, is $15 for adults; $10 for children ages 3 to 12; $5 for members; $5 for breakfast only, which is served until 3 p.m.
Visit www.halefarm.com or phone 330-666-3711 for more information.
Beginning Saturday and Sunday, and continuing March 15 and 16, Ohio’s Maple Madness Driving Tour, sponsored by the Ohio Maple Producers Association, also will be underway.
There are more than 40 stops along the driving tour. Visit www.ohiomaple.org for maps or information, or call 440-834-1415.
Local comings and goings
• The Gas Pump Bar & Grille, 2215 E. Waterloo Road, Springfield Township, will be closing its doors after just six months. Owner Ruth Self said business wasn’t strong enough to keep the place going.
• The Swensons location at 5815 Wales Ave., Jackson Township, has reopened, back under corporate ownership.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Extended summer hours will begin May 26, with the restaurant remaining open until midnight Sunday through Thursday.
This year, Swensons celebrates 80 years in business.
Chowder challenge is set
The West Point Market’s 6th Annual Chowder Challenge is Saturday at the market, 1711 W. Market St., Akron, from noon to 1 p.m.
Stop by to sample and vote for your favorite chowder entries. Three finalists are competing for $850 in market gift certificates.
St. Patty’s brunch at UA
The University of Akron’s Hospitality Club is sponsoring a St. Patty’s Day Brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 16 at the Crystal Room Bistro, 360 Grant St., Akron.
The menu includes fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs, omelets, toast, soda bread, fish, colcannon potatoes, cabbage and bacon, Irish coffee cake, cookies and Irish Bailey’s mousse pie.
The brunch is $16.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors, $12.95 for students and teens, $10.95 for children ages 4 to 11, and free for children age 3 and younger. Call 330-972-6615 for reservations. Parking is free.
Tea at Tudor House
Tea and Thyme is sponsoring a Bonnets & Butterflies tea at noon March 22, at the Tudor House, 655 Latham Lane, New Franklin. The menu includes soup, salad, scones, tea breads, petite sandwiches and desserts.
The event is $30. Phone Patti White to reserve at 330-701-5010, or register online at www.teaandthyme.com. Reservations deadline is March 15.
Buehler’s brownie named
Those decadent brownies being sold at Buehler’s Fresh Food stores are now known as Forbidden Brownies.
Kathy Lenarz of Dover won the store’s contest to name the brownies, after a controversy arose in December over the confection being called a Killer Brownie, like those at West Point Market in Akron.
Lenarz’s suggested name was one of 1,200 submitted in the contest.
Ramp up for festival
Plans are in the works for the second annual Ramp Up Peninsula festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 26, on the grounds of Brandy Wine Bar at Par 3, in the Brandywine Country Club, 5555 Akron-Peninsula Road.
The fest, which celebrates the flavorful wild leek, is looking for vendors. Visit www.rampuppeninsula.com for more information and vendor fees, email email@example.com or contact Diane Seskes at 330-657-2670.
Vendors will be accepted until the end of March. Admission to the festival is $3 at the gate for anyone age 12 and older.
Greek bake sale in April
The annual Easter bake sale at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 129 S. Union St., Akron, takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 9 and 10, at the church hall.
Members of the church will be offering traditional Greek pastries and Easter bread for sale. Phone 330-434-0000 to place an order or stop by the church.
Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.