CLEVELAND, Ohio - The dates are set for the Cleveland Pizza Fest, an annual summertime draw at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds: Friday-Sunday, June 22-24.
Organizers also said they are in negotiations with "a major oven manufacturer" to sponsor the fest.
"We've had minor sponsors," said Rick Perk, managing partner of the fest. "This will be a good-sized sponsor for us."
He said the company wants to expand in Northeast Ohio "pretty aggressively so they're looking at our event to be able to showcase a lot of their products."
If the deal is finalized, the company would bring in 10 to 12 ovens, some double-stacked, he said, which leads to a "good opportunity" for vendors considering ovens.
The popular fest draws pizza vendors from Northeast Ohio. Sample-sized slices are sold, with a pizza-judging contest, bands, games, kids activities, a 5K run and a pizza-eating contest that benefits a local charity.
This year, 12,500 people came through the gates to munch on pizza, but attendance was a bit down because of rain on the opening day, Perk said. The fest had 11 vendors, and Perk is shooting for about 15 in 2018.
So far several local pizza places have committed to next year's fest, including Augie's, Mama Julianne's, Scott's Fire and Ice Catering, Royal Pizza, Angelo's, Jet's and Upper Crust, Perk said.
He added the pizza-eating contest will be expanded to all three nights rather than just Sunday, and a nationally sanctioned cornhole tournament will take place along with an expanded classic-car display for Saturday and Sunday....Read more