By Kaylee Lindenmuth | firstname.lastname@example.org
SHENANDOAH - Earlier this year, Shenandoah-based Mrs. T's Pierogies held a national contest to "find a person whose passion for these pasta pockets... is rivaled only by their love of sharing them with the world year-round," and today, she was in Shenandoah for the annual Santa Drop.
"It's been 67 years since we sold our first pierogy and we're honored to have grown to become the largest producer of frozen pierogies in the country," said Tom Twardzik, President, Mrs. T's, in a media release announcing the contest. "This year, on National Pierogy Day, we are thrilled to return the love by announcing the search to recognize our biggest fan with this honorary title!"
The company announced the winner, Kayla Goff, on Nov. 20, and in the past week, she's visited the Mrs. T's facility on the east end and today she was at the Santa Drop event at Veteran's Memorial Stadium.
"It was really exciting," Goff said of winning. "Obviously, I am a huge pierogy lover, so when I saw the contest open up on National Pierogy Day, I thought, well, I have to submit an entry and I wanted to be one of the first people in so they'd notice me right off the bat."
The contest was based on social media, and Goff's entry was via Facebook, where her account is a "Top Fan" of the Mrs. T's account. Her nearly 500-word entry was among 200 entered on that social media platform alone.
"I waited, it was open for two weeks so they really made me hold on, and after they closed it, there was still a waiting period before they had contacted me," Goff said. "When they did, they initially sent a message saying 'Hey, please send us a private message,' and I thought, 'Does this mean that I won? What is this?'"
Goff said she messaged them, and waited two hours for the response.
"I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat -- I was supposed to be working, but I was honestly so nervous -- but when they finally said it, I swear I had a mini heart attack, I didn't know what to do," said Goff. "I was like floating on a cloud."
Goff grew up in the northern portion of the Coal Region, in the area of Freeland and Bloomsburg, she said, which is partially how she was introduced to pierogies, she said. She recalled asking her parents when she had pierogies the first time.
"I remember you loved them, and I think you ate the whole box," Goff recalled.
Goff's visit to the plant wasn't entirely planned, she said. It was arranged when she had let the company know she'd be in the area.
"When I won, part of winning wasn't to come and meet anybody, but since I was in the area, I said 'hey, if you want me to come by and get a photo or anything, I could,'" Goff told the Sentinel. "They then set up a huge tour of the facility and had a meet-and-greet and tasting for me -- that wasn't part of the package, they literally just did that since I said I was in the area -- then while I was in the office, they mentioned [the Santa Drop], and I thought it sounded cool."
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