Paige Guggemos and Chris Cloud hovered over a pair of pies at Element Pizza in northeast Minneapolis. The scent of a spicy buffalo chicken pizza hung in the air as an easygoing Sunday conversation took a sudden, weighty turn.
Unlike swing-state politicians, the two were taking hard-line stances on hot-button issues that have divided society for decades.
Are Hawaiian pizzas legit? Totally. Taco pizzas? For sure.
“It’s like, ‘Whoa. It’s a taco and a pizza,’ ” Cloud propounded.
OK, it’s not Israel-Palestine vexing, but it shows how seriously they take their tomato-sauced treats. So seriously that this weekend they have organized a pizza-themed overnight retreat — think summer camp for pepperoni-scarfing adults. Saturday’s first-ever Pizza Camp will bring roughly 50 pizza lovers to Maple Plain’s rustic Baker-Near Wilderness Settlement for a day of pizza and pizza-related activities (i.e. “capture the pizza”) with a little archery, canoeing, rock climbing or nature photography mixed in.
“It’s definitely quirky and I think people who signed up are in for the experience,” Guggemos said.
The mozzarella bash traces back to last summer when the south Minneapolis woman created the Facebook page Minneapolis Pizza Club. “Pizza Club started as me eating pizza. It was kind of a joke, honestly,” Guggemos, 27, admitted.
But that Pizza Club party of one quickly turned into a monthly or semimonthly gathering of 20 to 40 crust crusaders enjoying potluck feasts. The sold-out Pizza Camp is the group’s first public event. Campers will bunk in wooden cabins without electricity (so leave the Pizzazz at home) and can bring their own beer and wine, as park rules prohibit the hard stuff. The $49 fee includes lodging, activities, three “pizza-centric meals” and a Pizza Camp 2014 T-shirt like the one from Camp Kitchi-whatever you rocked in grade school. And don’t forget your slice-shaped name tag.
“Unlike [summer camp for kids], nothing is mandatory at Pizza Camp,” said Cloud, 31. “There will be elements of that summer camp vibe, but we’re also grown-ass adults and want to do our own thing.”
As a co-organizer of late-’90s/early-aughts dance night Forever Young, Cloud is no stranger to throwing nostalgic parties and Guggemos — a veteran slice-slinger at Pizza Lucè Uptown — knows the power of pizza. A former Minneapolis College of Art and Design student who’s now involved with the Living Proof Print Collective, Guggemos ran several MCAD clubs and said free ’za was the best way to boost attendance. “They weren’t coming for the clubs, they were coming for the pizza,” she said. (If you bake them they will come?)
Even if the Ninja Turtles’ favorite fare is “the glue of the food pyramid,” as Cloud suggests, isn’t it possible that with all the pie-tied antics in 24 hours that people could get burnt out — like a blackened crust — on pizza?
“We have your emergency contact number and we won’t hesitate to call them to bring you home if you overdose on pizza,” Guggemos joked.
When: Noon Sat.-noon Sun.
Where: Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement, 4001 County Road 24, Maple Plain.
Tickets: Sold out.
Info: www. pizzacamp.org.