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For Giant, 4th Fest is a Piece of Cake

by on July 04, 2012 6:50 AM

Every year, one of the main attractions at 4th Fest is the Giant cake.

This cake isn’t just "giant" because it is donated by Giant, it is a whopping 5 1/2-by-12 feet.

That’s about 1,400 pieces of cake.

Every year tons of people wait in line for their own free piece of the flag cake. The Giant cake will be cut at 6 p.m. in the Stadium West parking lot.

“The line goes the whole way across the parking lot. People start waiting in line at least 45 minutes before we cut it,” said Pam Decker, who is on 4th Fest’s board and also is co-chair of the celebrations committee.

Decker has been involved with the Giant cake for 14 years.

The cake usually takes 30-45 minutes to distribute, and even when it’s all gone, Decker said “people want us to just scrape off the icing and give it to them. It’s neat that people get that excited about it.”

Every year before the cake is sliced, a ceremony of some sort takes place. In recent years, the Civil War Infantry has been involved.

This Fourth of July, something extra special is being added: The infantry will read the Declaration of Independence at the cake instead of the usual 4th Fest stage location.

It also will give a gun salute. After the reading and the salute are over, the infantry will sing "Happy Birthday" with the crowd, followed by a countdown and ultimately the cutting of the cake.

“It’s quite a production,” Decker said. “We have a team of cake cutters and there’s probably 10-12 people that are all waiting to cut the cakes, so when the countdown is done, they can all begin to cut at the same time.”

Almost every aspect of the Giant cake celebration is taken care of by volunteers. People are needed to not only cut the cake, but to hand out napkins, to put forks in the cake, to monitor the line and so on.

The cake, which is about 385 pounds, icing intact, needs 8-10 people to simply carry it from the truck to the celebrations table.

The cake is baked fresh early that morning by George Johnson and a few of his helpers at the North Atherton Street Giant store. It takes more than eight hours to create.

“You’re giving away free cake and people just love it,” Decker said.

Danielle Matalonis is a student at Penn State and a summer intern for covering local news and events.
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