TMF Pie (A Parody)

South Mill Creek Church pie booth is one of the Treasure Mountain Festival parking lot originals, and honestly one I’ve overlooked during my years at the festival. I told them I would write them a promotional piece eventually.

It became a challenge for two reasons. The Lutheran Potato poem went viral in 2016. I’ve learned from past successes to never expect your follow-up to land the same way, no matter how good it is.

Secondly, in thinking about writing this I could never shake the tune of American Pie by Don McLean. Maybe it was because that’s the only real pie-related song in modern music, maybe it was Weird Al’s Star Wars themed rendition that put it back in the mainstream psyche. Maybe (most likely) it was 9th grade Franklin High School English class.

Either way, after a year of fighting the urge I went full-on American Pie parody. Speaking of Weird Al, I used his template as it contains 3,000 fewer verses. As I was doing this I also realized that the song has a lot of tempo changes that don’t translate well to poetry, but you’ll get the idea – especially if you listen to the original(s) first.


A long, long time ago
I can still remember,
The town parking lot at TMF.
And I knew if I had some bucks,
I had any choice of food trucks,
And maybe make my belly full for a while.

But funnel cakes went downtown,
The burger stand stopped coming ‘round.
Bad news around the corner,
The hotdog booth was no more.

I don’t remember what else was there,
I was young and craved a specific fare.
But the opportunity I missed was rare,
The day I discovered pie.

Oh, my, it’s the South Mill Creek pie,
It was no daydream to have ice cream right there on the side.
And those festival-goers eating dessert by the slice,
Saying this will be the stand I see twice.
This’ll be the dessert I eat twice.

Did you write the nutrition facts,
And do you haul these from Upper Tract,
Even if 220 has curvy lanes?
Did you see the prices are so low?
Marie Callender can’t go toe to toe.
Yes, I had to Google “national pie chains.”

Well, I know Cheesecake Factory is a thing,
But the nearest one is in McLean.
And 161 miles is much too far to drive,
When the third weekend in September arrives.

Can you believe a church group could,
Make seven varieties of heavenly food?
They even made raisins taste good.
The day I discovered pie.
I started eating

Oh, my, it’s the South Mill Creek pie,
It was no daydream to have ice cream right there on the side.
And those festival-goers eating dessert by the slice,
Saying this will be the stand I see twice.
This’ll be the dessert I eat twice.

Now, it was finally my turn in line
And choose a pastry on which to dine
But I couldn’t decide what to eat.

So I did a quick scan of the list,
To see if there was something I had missed.
And felt strawberry rhubarb and I should meet.

And I was about to place my order,
I wondered if I had a disorder.
I couldn’t decide on a few,
I had to get more than two.

And heard a voice from my stomach growl,
‘Let’s get those carbs in me right now.’
I reached for a fork and paper towel,
The day I discovered pie.
Let’s get to eating!

Oh, my, it’s the South Mill Creek pie,
It was no daydream to have ice cream right there on the side.
And those festival-goers eating dessert by the slice,
Saying this will be the stand I see twice.
This’ll be the dessert I eat twice.

I finished off each and every bite,
The cherry and blueberry right on site.
The peach also didn’t get a chance to last.

I went down to the potato stand,
a slice of apple in each hand.
But the man there said they sold out fast.

And in the end I could barely breathe,
Punishment for my gluttony.
And not a word was wasted,
My throat was full of things I tasted.

And the two foods I desire goes –
Crab cakes and baked potatoes.
Now adding a third thing to those,
The day I discovered pie.
And I stopped eating.

Oh, my, it’s the South Mill Creek pie,
It was no daydream to have ice cream right there on the side.
And those festival-goers eating dessert by the slice,
Saying this will be the stand I see twice.
This’ll be the dessert I eat twice.

I’m finished eating.
My my, it was that South Mill Creek pie,
It was no daydream to have ice cream right there on the side.
And those festival goers eating dessert by the slice,
Saying I’m so full I feel like I could die.

A Definitive Ranking the Treasure Mountain Festival Covers

There’s a good chance no one is going to care about this but me. I’ve always been a connoisseur of magazine covers, and slowly adapted that approach to designing Treasure Mountain Festival guide covers.

I first started in 2001 working summers at The Pendleton Times. I was tasked doing a job no one else wanted to do – doing paste-up for the Treasure Mountain Festival guide. At that time, the Times hadn’t transitioned to computer layout yet and opted instead to print out the different elements off of layout software and adhere them to large sheets with hot wax. The finished pages would then be transported to Monterey, Va. where they were copied and printed. Their operation ceased at the end of 2003, so I expect the guide began being produced digitally in 2004 or 2005 when printing began at the Daily News-Record. In 2006 color was added, and in 2007 I began to produce the guide independently after leaving the Times. The guide that no one wanted to produce had followed me home.

As the 50th anniversary approaches, I wanted to take this time to give a different ranking to my favorite designs over the years. Note that images of the 2001 & 2003 covers are not available, but are worth ranking for continuity sake.


Theme: Looking Back With Pride, Forward with Confidence
Logo Design: The Miner (Unsure of the Artist)

I cringe now at 2005 cover. This was back in the days when Abraham Lincoln made a regular appearance. The cover hits a lot of notes that previous year’s had, and is mostly uninspired with a very dated-looking bevel around the edges. This one was also the only one ever produced outside of the county, as I was living in Morgantown during much of that guide’s development.




Theme: Spirit of the Mountains
Logo Design: The Miner (Unsure of the Artist)

The sophomore effort at making design covers. The Monterey press was pretty terrible at reproducing pictures so the first three years consisted mostly of silhouettes and clip art. This one was one of my early cracks at illustrating mountains in Photoshop. I remember being pretty pleased with it at the time, but as the technology has advanced, this cover is really showing it’s age.





Theme: Footsteps Back in Time*
Logo Design: The Miner (Unsure of the Artist)

This was the original. I was so proud of it, I kept enough copies of it to fill a large plastic tote (Some day when I find that tote I will get you a picture). It was much like the 2002 cover but without the mountains at the bottom. Around the page were illustrations of footsteps covering the page, which were hand-pasted to the finished sheets at the last minute. That edition went to press on my 20th birthday.

*That’s a guess. I can’t remember the exact name, but I know it involved footsteps and spacetime.


Theme: (Cannot Remember)
Logo Design: The Miner (Unsure of the Artist)

Can’t remember what the theme was for my third year, but I remember I dressed my sister up in frontier getup and had her pose as if she was climbing a mountain. I then took the image into Photoshop, cut her out of the background and made her a silhouette. The end result was much like the 2002 mountains, but with a frontiersman climbing the mountain. This idea was borrowed heavily for the 2017 cover.


Theme: The Treasure That Is Pendleton County
Logo Design: The Wagon Wheel (Mike Mallow, Artist)

This one was uninspired, which was a shame because 2012 turned out to be one of the most picturesque festivals we’ve had in the last two decades. The cover is an image of Germany Valley run through an artistic Photoshop filter that makes it appears as if its a painting (Years later, I would make an actual painting based off this image). The uninspired design stems from what I felt was an uninspiring theme. They just needed to squeeze “heritage” in there and they would have called bingo on TMF buzzwords.



Theme: In the Mountain…Lies A Treasure
Logo Design: The Miner (Unsure of the Artist)

The first year of printing the guide at the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va. This meant that pictures would reproduce much better, and I wasted no time in loading it up with as many that would fit. This one would hold the record of most pictures on the cover for a decade. It also marks the last appearance of the mountains at the bottom, with a cheesy lens flare added for good measure.




Theme: A Hidden Treasure
Logo Design: The Treasure (Mike Mallow, Artist (though he doesn’t fully claim it))

I debate this one to this day. It’s intended to be minimalist, but also comes across as incomplete. It was meant to ride on the weight of the master image, but the logo flourish made is cumbersome to get just right on the page. This cover also doesn’t include the year’s logo, which I disliked so much that I asked a friend to design the logo for the following year. This year’s logo consisted of a treasure chest that was 99% clip art, and 1% a Pendleton County-shaped coin that I stuck in the chest. Hidden treasure! Get it? Yeah, it’s lame.



Theme: Heritage and Harmony in the Hills
Logo Design: The Music Note (Mike Mallow, Artist)

There was a lot of work that went into this one. There was a lot of experimentation with wood grains and parchment textures and it came together well in the end, but just enough to crack the top 10. This was also the first year I did the logo, which feels like it was sponsored by Pepsi (Coincidentally, PepsiCo is a corporate sponsor of the festival).





Theme: Our Heritage, The Heart of Pendleton County
Logo Design: The Miner (Unsure of the Artist)

That’s a beefy theme, but it does manage to avoid using the words “Treasure” and “Mountain” so it gets a pass. The cover is both the first color cover and the last cover I produced while working with The Pendleton Times. There was a lot going on that year, including the first year of the Main Stage. The cover features Andrea (Conrad) Cunningham, who appears on at least three other covers – though she’s difficult to spot on half of those.




Theme: The Rainbow Ends in Pendleton County
Logo Design: The Miner (Unsure of the Artist)

Carrying on the color scheme of the previous year, this cover marks the first one after striking out on my own. The guide itself was thrown together fairly quick, with a design template that was built from scratch. Story goes that there was no one willing to do the guide that year, and a member of the festival board just happened to find me working night shift at the Shell station one early morning. She asked if I was interested in doing the guide again, and the rest is history.



Theme: Jewel in the Mountain
Logo Design: Pendleton Jewel (Mike Mallow, Artist)

What was special about this cover is that it wrapped around to the back, revealing more pictures. It holds the record for the most (easily viewable) pictures to this day. I hadn’t taken pictures in 2013 because the festival was just a month after my daughter was born, and I wanted to take a year off pictures to enjoy her first TMF experience (it rained). In 2014, I overcompensated a bit and had more than enough photos when the 2015 guide rolled around.



Theme: Come Home to the Mountains
Logo Design: The Traveler (Pastor Jess Felici, Artist)

It came as a surprise in 2017 when I realized that Seneca Rocks has had practically zero role in the festival, let alone the cover. In thinking about coming home to mountains, it only made sense that Seneca Rocks be part of the master image. Jess Felici made the logo that year, which inspired the final design of the cover. Seneca Rocks was originally just a flat gray tone. The pictures were only added when the test prints came out dark enough that the man on the mountain could barely be seen.



Theme: Mountain Reunion
Logo Design: Mountain Reunion (Mike Mallow, Artist)

2012 was the best year for pictures of any festival hands down. The weather was just perfect. This made for a daunting task of choosing a master image for the Mountain Reunion theme (also my favorite theme of any during my time). I had narrowed it down to four, and even had each of those printed as posters. In the end, the final image shows both family and heritage. This marks the only time that the theme itself was turned into the festival logo.




Theme: Revival of Our Past
Logo Design: The Rider (Mike Mallow, Artist)

After several years of making high concept covers, I wanted to do something different. So I decided to take a crack at painting the fort burning. To date, that was the only cover that was ever rejected by the festival board. Adding pictures and overlaying an actual picture of the fort burning over the painting solved that issue (which did turn out much better than the original cover). It’s also the only logo that I designed that doesn’t make me groan.



Theme: (Not Sure)
Logo Design: Indian Treasure (Karen Armstrong, Artist)

This one is near perfection as far as the single-image approach is concerned. It’s one photo, a lot of filters. After several years of complex photo layouts, this one felt like a breath of fresh air. What’s striking is that the theme is nowhere to be found. I must of not cared for it. Karen Armstrong, the President who gave me my big break in 2007, illustrated the logo. It was originally intended for something else, but fit well with the logo. This was also the year we officially retired the miner logo, who had been the centerpiece for decades at that point.



Theme: 250 Years…The Legend Continues
Logo Design: Indian Treasure (Karen Armstrong, Artist)

This one was a high concept that was worth of its 40 year and 250 year milestones. The left side represents the darkness of the events of the Fort Seybert Massacre. Cutting through that darkness was the events of today, which took a tragedy centuries ago and turned it into a cheerful time. I started working on this cover in the Winter of 2008 and spent months adjusting it, tearing it down and starting all over again. This was also one of two years that we used Karen Armstrong’s Indian logo.


Theme: Celebrating Our Past
Logo Design: (Technically there wasn’t one)

I often consider 2014 the creative high point of my life. I didn’t take photos in 2013, which left me in a bind when designing the guide the following year. The scene depicted is completely computer generated and spliced with photos form different years of the fort burning reenactment. I was going for a movie poster feel, and I think it was achieved. In addition, I ran all my old photos through a collage program that assembled thousands of pictures into one image. I then blended those photos with the master image, giving the fort fire that effect.


Ode to the Lutheran Baked Potato

In the town of Franklin,
On the third Week in September.
You’ll find a festival,
With food to always remember.
There is pork barbecue,
A stand serving a fine crab cake.
But nothing can compare,
To one that takes hours to bake.

The lowly potato,
So plain and inconspicuous.
Yet, stands out from the crowd,
As, by far, the most delicious.
Gone are the hamburgers,
The Methodist grillers are through.
Their stand is now long gone,
Presbyterian hotdogs too.

One of the last church stands,
Sticks to a game plan tried and true.
Undeterred by changes,
Is that of Martin Luther’s crew.
Get it with some butter,
Some homemade chili, if you please.
Pepper it green with chives,
Make orange with liquid cheese.

Remember the sour cream,
Amazing with just a dollop.
Any way you want it,
It really packs a wallop.
Every year we eat it,
It has become so iconic.
Can’t be duplicated,
And we think that seems ironic.

So what is the secret?
Was it from Lutherans of yore?
Back to the beginning?
Did it get nailed to someone’s door?
This unlikely tale,
Of the perfect festival dinner.
May seem like a stretch,
But can assure you its a winner.

One ingredient,
The secret that makes it worth the price.
If spuds are the base,
There’s no doubt nostalgia is the spice.
Whatever the reason,
To that stand, I suggest you march.
You will never regret,
Filling up on five dollars of starch.