By Christopher Roberson
From 4 to 6 p.m., Railroad Avenue was clogged with wall-to-wall people sampling a variety of pizzas from a panel of vendors that included Reach for the Pie, Mr. G’s Pizza & Subs, Gallo Nero and Plum Tomatoes Brick Oven Pizza during the second annual Pizza Fest.
Like last year, customers had their choice of everything from plain cheese to meat lovers to Hawaiian pizzas.
Going into the Aug. 19 event, Gary Hynes of Tasty Foods said he “figured 30-40 pizzas” would be adequate. However, by 5:10 p.m. he and co-worker Savvary Kent had already blown through 40 pizzas and needed reinforcements.
“We’ve got another 30 coming over,” said Hynes, adding that the event was much bigger than he anticipated.
At 5:25 p.m., Joshua Canfield of Reach for the Pie said he and co-worker Dominic Gatto had handed out 35 of the 40 pizzas allotted for the event. Last year, Canfield gave out 243 slices in 33 minutes. “We were a little more prepared this year,” he said.
With 20 minutes to go, Kristiana Alexandrou of Gallo Nero said the number of pizzas she and co-worker Malvina Bejleri had given away was “just shy of 100.” “Our lines were going so quickly – everybody loves our pizza,” said Alexandrou.
Mr. G’s nearly made it to the end of Pizza Fest, running out at 5:45 p.m. after serving 50 pizzas. Employee Jackson Berry said this year’s event was decisively busier than last year.
Employee Kenia McKeon said she was pleased with the “great turnout.” “It was so well organized,” she said.
Matthew and Katie Kirleis of Swampscott said this was their first time at Pizza Fest and described the event as being “good and busy.”
However, Steven Wilkins of Peabody and Jose Pereira of Lynn said they were slightly disappointed as there were eight pizzerias this year versus the nine establishments that came out last year. They also said the parking arrangement could have been better organized by allowing residents to use the parking lot at Peabody District Court.
Following Pizza Fest, residents were treated to country music by Herland Brothers on the Leather City Common as part of the city’s Summer Concert Series.