How two cheesy pizza enthusiasts joined together to create our dream pizza party.

PIZZA CAMP was founded as a collaboration between artists Paige Guggemos (MPLS Pizza Club, MPLS Band Shirts, Living Proof Print Collective, Lazy Geometry) and Chris Cloud (MPLS.tv, Forever Young, Walker Art Center).  We bonded over a love of connecting people, ideas, and interactive art projects. What started as a fever dream during a pizza party in a portable hot tub (thank you Captain Party Time), became a reality when we found Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement.  At first, we thought, “What if we had a pizza party in a park?” And then, “What if you could camp there?” Finally, after finding the venue,”What if it was… PIZZA CAMP?”  We then set to work on making the pizza party of our dreams a reality.

In 2014, the camp started with humble beginnings.  We invited friends and friends of friends to join us in the wilderness and to bring their love for pizza.  We brought beer, t-shirts, and every pizza ingredient we could find.  It was there that we met the local artful activity group Grown-Up Club and a foundation for the adults-only overnight retreat was forged over fire and forest as we played a dangerous game of kick-the-can amongst the trees in the pitch darkness of a Minnesota midnight.

Pizza Camp has returned to Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement each year since.  We try to mix up the camp experience every year as we look to perfect the event and keep it fresh for our return campers.  One year, we hinted at a surprise guest with lots of photos of Kevin James, but the surprise guest was really just two beautiful birds of prey from the Raptor Center.  Another year, we went big and booked the absolutely incredible Philadelphia-based pizza band, The Lifetime Pizza Collection, flying them in to perform an exclusive set for campers.  In 2015, we kicked off with a public pre-party at Bauhaus Brewery before taking buses out to camp.  In 2016, we partnered with Fulton Beer to pull-off 7 days of consecutive pizza parties surrounding Pizza Camp.  This series of parties was the first ever MPLS Pizza Week which included things like an all-you-can-drink bus to Pizza Farm, Trivia Mafia @ Carbones, A Pizza Party & Concert at The Uptown VFW, and meet-ups at Up-down Arcade and Red Wagon Pizza Co.  In 2017, we moved Pizza Camp from September to July and extending the length of the camp to maximize on the beautiful July weather in Minnesota.  2018 is set to be the fifth and final Pizza Camp.

MPLS Pizza Club is a community for Pizza Enthusiasts with Minneapolis ties who eat, share, explore, create, & celebrate all things pizza. There is no official membership, the club is based on shared experiences, community, and collaboration and exists largely on social media and through member-hosted events. MPLS Pizza Club was founded by Paige Guggemos in 2013 and supported by a close network of friends, often through private potlucks but occasionally with public celebrations.

Pizza Camp is also the name of the incredible book by Joe Beddia, which you should buy immediately and study deeply. Your friends and fellow pizza-lovers will thank you. This book has taught us so much and visiting Joe’s restaurant is on our Bucketlist.

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