Norwalk Rotarians raised more than $9,000 and three local businesses won awards for their pizzas at the annual Pizza Bake Off this week.
Three Norwalk firefighters Tom Frey, Dave Wallace and Brett Beers served as judges and gave the best specialty pizza award to Pizza Cravin' and the best traditional pepperoni pizza award to Arpeggio.
The 838 people who attended to sample pizza from six local pizzerias gave the people's choice award to Domino's.
"We try to honor our local heroes," Tom Kueterman, chairman of the event said. "Last year we had a sheriff's deputy and a Norwalk police officer as judges."
People wolfed down 452 pizzas at the event from six restaurants Domino's, Cameo Pizza, Pizza Brothers, Inc., Pizza Post, Pizza Cravin' and Arpeggio Pizza Pasta & More. They provide the pizzas at a very reduced cost for the event.
Tom Kueterman, chairman for the event, said one reason the event raised at least $500 more than last year was the generosity of local businesses and individuals donating raffle prizes.
"Norwalk Furniture and the Hen House always make very nice donations, but this year we got extra items," he said.
Other prizes raffled off this year include Cleveland Indians tickets Boca Construction and Payne Nickles & Company; Toledo Mudhens tickets Columbia Gas; an autographed Charlie Frye football Seitz Design and Construction; Nike golf bag Edward Jones; two baseballs autographed by Sparky Anderson National City Bank; an angel statue Citizens National Bank; a summer fun package Fisher-Titus Medical Center; and an autographed photo of Jake Westbrook WLKR Radio.
"About a dozen companies that are not even Rotarians also sponsored tickets for young people to attend," Kueterman said. "We're also really very grateful to Norwalk City Schools for the use of the gymnasium. We had a tremendous number of Rotarians there helping out and cleaning up."
The event raises money for Rotary's "Caring for Kids" programs. They include Safety Town, DARE, Norwalk Public Library Summer Reading Program for Kids and scholarships for Norwalk High School and Norwalk Catholic School students.
Kueterman said last year's event brought in $8,500, up by about $200 from the year before. More than 850 people attended last year's event, up from more than 580 in 2006.