Looking forward to Pi

When Mimi Omiecinski, founder of Princeton Tour Company, discovered some mathematicians celebrated Albert Einstein’s birthday behind closed doors every year, the tantalizing image of a party for Pi sparkled in her mind’s eye.  Not long after, Omiecinski solicited help from the area’s businesses, organizations and Princeton University and created a Princeton Pi Day no one could forget.

For those who don’t know, Princeton’s favorite theoretical physicist was actually born on March 14 – 3.14, i.e., the first three numbers of Pi.

“I couldn’t believe Princeton’s favorite genius was born on such a remarkable day,” Omiecinski exclaimed. “I started to mention my new found fact to people and nearly all of them didn’t know Einstein was born on 3.14!  Their reactions, ‘Oh my gosh, how cool is that?’ ‘Are you sure? That can’t be true,’ were all I needed to get inspired to put an event together.”

Omiecinski and the Princeton Public Library hosted the first Pi Day in 2009. They called upon local shops, officials, family and friends to contribute. The result was a celebration that attracted nearly 4,000 people. Now in its eighth year, having grown exponentially in popularity and length, Pi Day spans from March 10 through March 14 and is set to accommodate close to 9,000 people.

In addition to honoring Einstein’s birthday, Princeton Pi Day tips its hat to math, science, historical geniuses, kid-friendly games, foodies, film buffs and more. There is something for everyone, from Dinky Train rides with Einstein, pie throwing, pie eating and pie baking contests, bike tours and a cocktail making class inside Einstein’s first residence – the Peacock Inn on Bayard Lane.

“I really look forward to seeing all the new surprise performances and speakers who find their way to this event,” Omiecinski said. “This year, we have the core events everyone adores as well as a young New Jersey man who will recite over 20,000 digits of Pi, and a musician who worked with Adele and Rihanna will launch his worldwide album during our events.”

Pi Day has become a local favorite over the years – garnering the attention of many. Omiecinski recalled her favorite Pi Day experience, which involved being star struck by a world-renowned mathematician.

“My favorite Pi Day Princeton memory was when I got a chance to meet John Nash, and not only had he heard of Pi Day Princeton, but he thought the celebration was delightful.”

Running through the heart of town, Pi Day is quintessentially Princeton. Omiecinski is proud of all the local establishments that come on board, including Nassau Inn, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Morven Museum and Garden, Princeton Garden Theatre, the library, the Historical Society of Princeton, the Peacock Inn, Princeton Pi, House of Cupcakes, the Kitchen Twins, House of Cupcakes, Palmer Square, Princeton Education Foundation, Princeton Genius Tours, Princeton Running Company, NJ Bike Tours, Prindie Fest and the Arts Council of Princeton.

“The town of Princeton is nuts for this quirky event and hopes the universe will come visit our town to celebrate Pi Day Princeton,” Omiecinski said.

About Erica Chayes Wida

Erica Chayes Wida is a writer, mom, and complete zealot when it comes to poetry, paella and globe collections. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, Erica moved to Italy where the seasons and old architecture inspired her journey back to the East Coast. Since then, she and her husband have created a nest egg locally and, over time, developed a rather grand love affair with the town of Princeton. Erica is senior editor at The Princeton Sun and enjoys fulfilling her Princeton affections on a daily basis. | View all posts by Erica Chayes Wida