For those who don’t know, I’m the founder and president of Young Professionals of Parma, and the Pizza Bake Off is essentially my baby (coming up on the 23rd at the UAW Hall! 🎉🍕 — $10 pre-sale tickets still available!!).

I have an amazing event committee I get to work with, and we’ve been meeting monthly since June (and now weekly!). It is an honor and a privilege to get to do this work in my community and to work with these remarkable volunteers. This organization and this event are my passion. 

Last year’s event held at German Central simply blew me away. We almost didn’t reserve the basement that doubled our space because we thought we were only going to sell 200 to 300 tickets, only to be surprised when 750 pizza-loving Parmidians showed up. Thank goodness we eventually decided to reserve the extra space!

This year’s event will be truly new and improved. We’re doing an organized punch card system for obtaining your pizza samples as well as colored plates to help you distinguish your slices. We’re selling our own beer and wine provided by local vendors (shout out The Little Birdie Wine Nest and Fat Head’s Brewery). We’re bringing back our friends The Baker’s Basement (band) and magician Nick Eaton, but we’re also adding some new entertainment including balloon artist Bob Durante from Zap Entertainment and a photobooth provided by Burning River Entertainment. Raffles will also be going on throughout the evening including a 50/50 and a beer tower raffle. This family-friendly event benefits the Parma Animal Shelter. And did I mention CLE Cookie Dough Co. has signed on as our dessert vendor to provide cookie dough (4 flavors and multiple sizes and flights available) for purchase? It’s going to be a yummy evening!

One of the most amazing aspects of the event planning process though is getting to partner with local businesses. The fact that these companies want to support our event in this way is truly incredible. Special shout out to Nick Battilana State Farm Agency, our “Supreme” sponsor; HER Realtors – Michelle Green Professional Group, our “Deep Dish” sponsor; and several other companies and organizations who are supporting our event through sponsorship. 

But it wouldn’t be a Pizza Bake Off without pizza. The biggest shout out of all goes to our pizza vendors. This year we welcome Casamel’s Pizza, P. Jay’s Pizza, Sloppy Bob’s, Legends Sports Bar, Napoleon’s Pizza, Master Pizza and State Road Pizza. This event would not be possible without their generous donation of time and product. I am so grateful to these vendors, and we hope they receive sizable exposure and promotion from the event. 

Speaking of pizza, an additional upgrade that will take place this year is our first ever judges’ blind taste test. We will welcome a panel of high-profile judges including Channel 3 Anchor Dorsena Drakeford, Melt Bar and Grilled owner Matt Fish, 94.9 WQMX Morning News Anchor Ryan Lang, and Channel 3 Anchor Will Ujek who will judge slices on best crust, best sauce, and best overall. Like last year, attendees will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite slice, and one shop will receive the People’s Choice award.

Have I convinced you to buy a ticket yet? This event is an incredible value as pre-sale tickets are only $10 (ages 13+), $5 (ages 6-12), and free (ages 0-5) and include three hours (6–9 p.m.) of entertainment, 11 pizza samples, and one pop or bottled water. But you’ll want to get your tickets soon. Tickets will increase by $5 at the door. Pre-sales will be available up until 24 hours before the event or until we sell out. Tickets are available at ParmaPizza.org. 

Finally, I want to thank our volunteers. The event would not be possible without someone there to check-in everyone at registration, hand out pop or water, clear used plates, or empty the trash. This year we have about 50 young professionals, friends, family, and Parma residents coming to the event to do these tasks. They are the true heroes of the event. Thank you so much for your help.

There is a whole lot that goes into planning and executing an event of this scale, but it is extremely rewarding getting to support our community in this way. If you are interested in joining one of our Young Professionals of Parma committees including the Pizza Bake Off committee, visit https://parmayps.com/contact/volunteer/. No age requirement. We would love to have you.

For any questions about the Pizza Bake Off or Young Professionals of Parma, please feel free to reach out to me at Hello@ParmaYPs.com.

See you at the Bake Off!

By: Jackie Baraona, YPOP president

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