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Say 'whoopie' to this sweet Lancaster festival

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Everyone has a different name for them.

Gobs, black-and-whites, Big Fat Oreos (BFOs), black moons.

But they’re universally — well, regionally — recognized by one moniker: whoopie pies.

There’s a lot of debate over where the names — and the concept — originated: while Pennsylvanians take a proprietorial claim over the tasty, marshmallow-y treats, Maine and New Hampshire have also scrambled to take ownership of the cakey delights. In fact, the “pie,” which isn’t really a pie at all, is the official treat of Maine, according to a piece of legislature the Maine House of Representatives voted upon in 2011.

This year’s Whoopie Pie Festival, a favorite for those seeking sweets in Central PA, will feature events like a whoopie pie launch, a whoopie pie treasure hunt, an eating contest and whoopie pie checkers. The event gives attendees the chance to try more than 100 varieties of whoopie pies. That’s 1-0-0. WOAH!

The Bakery at Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn, the team who organizes the annual event, is most excited about some of the “more adult flavors, such as margarita, Fireball, Concord grape wine and Baileys flavors,” said baker Christy Osborne.

Let’s look at the some of the nicknames for the treat and where those names came from.

Whoopie Pie or Whoopee Pie

The name given to the chocolatey, sticky treats by the Pennsylvania Dutch, aka the names you’ve most likely grown up around. Thanks for teaching us the right term to use, Grandma.


A word lovingly used for the confectionary delight in western Pennsylvania. Since “gob” is also used to describe a “clump,” or “batch” of something, you can put two and two together to figure out where this started.

Black moons

The origins of this nickname are a little unclear, but all the same it sounds a tad dramatic for such a fluffy, lighthearted dessert, no? Nonetheless, if you type “black moon recipes” in a Google search you’ll have a browser full of whoopie pie images.

Big Fat Oreos

OK, really, who came up with this one? Let’s try to get creative, people.

Note: Whoopie pies are not to be confused with moon pies, a delicacy from the South (specifically Tennessee and Alabama) that are similar to whoopie pies, but are supplemented with graham crackers. Let them keep their graham crackers; just more marshmallow crème for us!

If You Go:

What: Whoopie Pie Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10

Where: Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn, 240 Hartman Bridge Road, Ronks

Cost: Free to attend; pay per activity