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Pie Capitol Of MN Devotes Day To The Dessert

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(credit: CBS) Kim Johnson
Kim Johnson joined the WCCO-TV team in May 2014. You can find h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – WCCO was talking pie Saturday and there’s one town that does pie better than anyone else.

Braham, Minn. has been designated the pie capitol of Minnesota.

WCCO’s Kim Johnson followed her sweet tooth about an hour north of the Twin Cities to find out why.

It may look like any small town main street.

But there’s something very sweet about the town of Braham; pie.

It’s not just dessert here.

As noted on the street signs, the town prides itself on pie.

One day a year Braham nearly triples in population.

“We have 4,000 to 6,000 people that show up for pie day,” Pie Day organizer, Ellen Cunningham, said.

The first Friday of every August, people stand in line to sample some 650 homemade pies.

But it’s not just about eating, it’s also competing.

“I like Samoas, and I wanted to bake a pie. So, I made a somas pie,” 8-year-old Natalie Berg said.

“We have professional judges that come in and judge. And we will have an auction to sell off all our pies later on,” the pie contest organizer, Marion Larson, said.

The passion for pie here dates back to 1926 with the opening of the Park Cafe.

“Before 35W was built, people came through Braham on their way to Duluth, Minn. Braham was about halfway, so they stopped at Park to pay for pie,” Cunningham said.

The cafe is in the hands of different owners now.

But Jeana Strelow and her family have kept up the tradition

“It just makes people smile,” Strelow said.

“What’s special about it?” WCCO’s Kim Johnson asked.

“That I get to work with my mom everyday” Strelow said.

At 72, Strelow’s mom Ellie is still rolling crusts.

When asked what the secret to making a good pie is, Ellie said, “Good ingredients and lot of love.”

In 1990, that secret ingredient caught the attention of Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich who stopped in for a slice.

Perpich proclaimed Braham the pie capitol of Minnesota.

It’s a title that continues to serve the town, 25 years later.

If you missed Pie Day this year, you can always get pie year round.

The Park Cafe is open every day for breakfast and lunch, and they always have fresh baked pies.

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