Pi Day: a tradition unlike any other

See how this Brighton Heights family rings in March 14 (Pi Day AKA 3/14) every year with a pie-filled celebration.

by Nicolette Kalafatis
March 14, 2019

Nestled in the North Side neighborhood of Brighton Heights exists the Dragenflo family. (Sidenote: they are adorable and also, yes; that’s a rad last name.)

The family has a peculiar tradition of celebrating a holiday that comes around once every year. That day happens to be today. 

That’s right. We’re talking about Pi Day. 


The Dragenflo family’s Pi Day Party prep list. Photo: Nicolette Kalafatis


What is Pi Day

For folks unfamiliar, Pi Day falls annually on March 14 and celebrates the first three digits of Pi: 3.14. It is a holiday marked with various shoutouts and acknowledgements, but the Dragenflo family has symbolically kept it pegged into their calendar all year long.

Henry and Charlotta Dragenflo, and their precious toddler Freya, will host their fifth annual Pi Day party this year; a tradition they have kept alive for friends complete with ALL kinds of pies.


How did the Pi Day tradition start

In 2013 – while living in an apartment in Friendship – the couple’s first pie-potluck party had about 20 people in attendance. Most guests brought sweet pies; one even brought pizza.

To mark the inaugural success, the Dragenflos decided to bring back their Pi Day Party. The 2014 iteration was underscored with inclusivity: any and all pies would be welcome.


Charlotta and Henry Dragenflo, playing with their daughter Freya, at their Brighton Heights home. Photo: Nicolette Kalafatis


“The next year (in the invitation), I said I was going to make a cottage pie. Charlotta was going to make a sweet pie. So, both savory and sweet pies would be welcome. That year, more people brought pizzas; somebody even brought a taco pie,” Henry explained.

One year, Charlotta made a quiche. It was after the third year, however, that they realized how important it was to have ample leftover containers for people to take home the assortment of pies. Leaving the Pi Day party, you could theoretically have pie for every meal of the day – every day – for about a month. Incredible.


Moving the Pi Day Festivus to Brighton Heights

Fast forward to 2017. The Dragenflos are now based in Brighton Heights and this will be the third time Pi Day is marked with a party in their (new) home. They also welcomed a baby girl into the family; Freya – their daughter – adds elements of energy and excitement into the planning process.

While in years past, the parties have actually fallen ON Pi Day, this year’s celebration is planned for Sunday, March 17.

“It used to not be a moveable holiday, but now that we have a kid…” Charlotta interrupts herself with laughter.

The Dragenflo family is expecting about 12 to 15 pies this year. Charlotta plans to make a tart a la Mary Berry from The Great British Bake Off.


Pi Day party attendees are welcomed by the adorable Freya. Photo: Nicolette Kalafatis


Guests will find themselves amongst Pi Day decorations: a Pi Pedestal (Henry carved out of cardboard) and streamers hung up with approximately 200 digits of Pi written on all of them.


The Significance of Pi Day

When asked why this holiday was so special to the Dragenflos, Henry explains that it’s simply the best way to break out of that winter funk.

“It’s the first party of the season. We were talking about how everyone goes hard for New Year’s and then just hibernates until the spring; so, it’s like we gotta kick it off,” Henry explained, adding on jokingly, “People are more interested in Pi Day than Mole Day, so if you’re going to have a math-based holiday, go with Pi Day.”


Freya, a bundle of joy and energy. Photo: Nicolette Kalafatis


There’s never a bad time for pie.

The Dragenflo family has inspired us to throw our own very own Pi Day party.

Looking for a Pi Day Celebration?

While the Dragenflo’s Pi Day party is invite-only, all are welcome to attend Very Local’s Pi Day celebration – Pi(e) Squared on Thursday, March 14 at East End Brewing. We’ve partnered up with Piebird and Astronomy on Tap on a fun concept. Although tickets sales for pie have ended,  swing by for a beer and enjoy “Pi in 5 (minutes)” wherein a scientist will explain the mathematics behind Pi in about five minutes.


Brighton Heights
Getting there
Brighton Heights, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Nicolette is a lifetime Pittsburgh resident who spends too much of her time in coffee shops. A freelance photographer and journalist, you can find her shooting pool at a local dive bar, finding the best live music around town or hanging out at her favorite restaurants.

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