Pi Day activities set for annual Princeton celebration

Albert Einstein was born on March 14 – 3.14 – the numeric equivalent of Pi. Business owners in Princeton are counting down the days and preparing for the annual town Pi Day celebration. More than 20 events are planned in honor of Pi Day, and some merchants in town will offer Pi Day specials. The celebration, organized by Princeton Tours, kicks off three days early on March 11, includes a full day of activities on March 14, and ends on March 16. The festivities include pie eating, pie judging, pie throwing, a pi recitation contest, pizza pie and cupcake decorating contests, and an Einstein look-alike contest. Most events are free.

Pi Day Activities Schedule

Wednesday, March 11

“Einstein in Bohemia” by Professor Michael Gordin – Michael Gordin discusses his book about the transformative period of Einstein’s life and career in Prague. 7 p.m., Princeton Public Library Community Room.

Friday, March 13

Pi Day Princeton Dance Party – Arrive dressed as Einstein and get in free. 7:30 p.m., Paul Robeson Center for the Arts. 102 Witherspoon Street. $5 general admission.

Saturday, March 14

Apple Pie Eating Contest – First come, first served. Arrive by 8:45 a.m. and report to the second floor inside McCaffrey’s Market at 301 North Harrison Street.

Peg + Cat Einstein Celebration – Four free episodes. Meet and greet with Peg and Cat.  Doors open at 9:30 a.m. The episodes play in a loop until noon. Garden Theatre, 160 Nassau Street.

Surprise Birthday Party for Albert Einstein – Arrive on time to help get ready for Albert’s birthday bash and learn some fun facts about the guest of honor. When Albert arrives to find a dark room and thinks he’s gotten lost again, his favorite fans spring into action to sing Happy Birthday and share individual small pies to celebrate. 10 a.m., Nassau Inn Princeton Room, Palmer Square East.

Einstein in Princeton Guided Walking Tour – Meet at the 2nd floor of Nassau Inn at the red couches for a 10:30 a.m. start. Join Princeton Tour Company guide Tim Fagin to see the neighborhood and hangouts of Princeton’s most beloved genius. The brisk-paced walk covers about 2 miles.  

Richard Wesley Hamming: Man, Mathematician, and Mentor” – Author Martin Mandelberg discusses his recently published biography of the esteemed computer scientist and educator Richard W. Hamming, a gifted mathematician of international renown and a mentor who encouraged a new generation of mathematicians throughout his career. 11 a.m., Princeton Public Library.  

Einstein Look-A-Like Contest – People of all ages come to portray Princeton’s favorite resident genius. Winner under 12 receives $314.15.
Noon. Nassau Inn Princeton Room. Register to compete here

Einstein Salon and Innovators Gallery – View the Historical Society’s Einstein exhibit. Noon to 4 p.m. Updike Farmstead, 354 Quaker Road.   $4 general admission.

Princeton School Gardens Cooperative Fundraiser – The bent spoon and Lillipies are teaming up to raise funds for Princeton School Gardens Cooperative. Stop by bent spoon on Palmer Square or LiLLiPIE’s at 301 Harrison Street any time between noon and 6 p.m. to treat yourself to a LiLLiPiE topped with bent spoon ice cream.  All proceeds will be donated directly to the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative.

“What is Pi?  How Memory Works” – A demonstration of fun memory techniques by former Pi Recitation world record holder David Fiore.  1 p.m., Nassau Inn Princeton Room.

Pi Recitation Contest – Marc Umile, 2007 Pi Recitation North American Champion and Dave Fiore, the first person to recite Pi to 10,000 digits, are the official judges of the event. For children 12 and under. 1:30 p.m. Nassau Inn Princeton Room. Register here.

Princeton Pi-Rade Led by the Winner of Pi Recitation Contest – A “parade” to celebrate Pi after the Pi Recitation Competition. The winner of the Pi Recitation Event will be grandmaster of the PiRade and lead the parade throughout Palmer Square. (starts in the Nassau Inn Princeton Room after the Pi recitation contest).

“Our Magnetic Universe” – Presentation by Institute for Advanced Study member Susan Clark. From stars to galaxies to intergalactic space, invisible magnetic fields thread the cosmos. 1:59 p.m. (location TBA)

Einstein Gallery Talk – Hear a quick overview of Einstein’s life in Princeton highlighting objects and photographs in the Einstein Salon exhibition. Historical Society of Princeton, 354 Quaker Road.

Pizza Pi Competition – Three contestants will be chosen on-site to compete at this event. Contestants will be chosen based on enthusiasm and creativity. Each competitor will have 5 minutes to choose from all the ingredients at Princeton Pi to create the best pizza. Judges will be selected from the audience. The winning participant will win one free medium cheese pizza for the next three months in 2020. 2:45 p.m., Princeton Pi at 84 Nassau Street.   

Pie Throwing Event – Free until supplies last.  Grab your bestie and head to the heart of Princeton for some good old fashion pie in the face fun. 3:14 p.m. Palmer Square Green.

Pi Day Pop Up Wedding/Vow Renewal/Promposal Ceremonies – Get married on Pi Day or renew your vows. Email findus@princetontourcompany.com to request a reservation. 3:14 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 84 Nassau Street.

Lillipies Cookbook Signing – Join the owner of Lillipies Bakery as she launches her first cookbook. Her bakery will have lots of 9” and handheld pies throughout the day as well as the featured pie at bent spoon, which also has a pi-inspired flavored ice cream for the day. 3:14 p.m. to 5 p.m., 301 North Harrison Street.

Monday, March 16

Screening of the Movie “IQ”– In honor of Albert Einstein’s birthday and Pi Day, join the Princeton Public Library for a screening of the film “IQ,” most of which was filmed in Princeton. Following the movie, there will be an open archive provided by the Historical Society of Princeton displaying items from the production. Filmed in 1994, “IQ” is a romantic comedy set in the 1950s featuring Walter Matthau as Einstein, playing matchmaker for his niece (Meg Ryan). 6 p.m. Free.