10/01/08 — Baking up a winner

View Archive

Baking up a winner

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 1, 2008 1:53 PM

Melody Thomas stopped midway through the judging of the pie-baking contest at the Wayne Regional Fair Tuesday and let the flavor of the last entry melt in her mouth.

"I thought I'd died and gone to heaven," she said, smiling. "I haven't tasted a pie I didn't like."

Judge Lou Ann Price said she'd "probably have to go back and resample" some of the pies to be sure of her decisions.

Michael Coles, another judge, savored a bite of another pie and looked up.

"I can't even describe it in words," he said. "It's just great."

You could call it one of the toughest jobs at the fair, choosing the best pies from the nearly 90 entries.

But somebody has to do it.

While the judges made their decisions, the contestants watched intently.

None more than Della Stocks, a home economics teacher at Faith Christian Academy. She had 16 girls at her house Monday night to bake pies for the fair. She said it took about six hours in all.

"My kitchen was a mess," says Ms. Stocks. "We had crust all over the counter and floor. The sinks were full of dirty bowls."

She said many of the girls had never baked a pie before and were excited about making their first one, especially for the fair.

She said it took about six hours in all.

"My kitchen was a mess. We had crust all over the counter and floor. The sinks were full of dirty bowls."

Wesley Dills, 24, entered four pies this year: blueberry with cranberry Kiante -- an original creation -- orange creamsicle, plum custard and buttermilk with coconut and pecans, an old family favorite.

He admitted that the orange creamsicle was a last-minute decision.

"I baked two other kinds of pies and wasn't happy with them so they went down the drain. I had some orange concentrate and thought I could put the orange creamsicle pie together quickly."

Dills frequently experiments with pies and makes up his own recipes. It's easy for him since he's been baking pies since he was 8 years old. He learned the craft from his grandmother.

"It's fun. It's creative. And it's really neat to put things together and experiment and see how they turn out. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don't."

At Tuesday's show, the proof was in the tasting.

As the winners were announced, cheers and applause filled the exhibition hall.

Kayla Sasser's fudge nut pie won first place in the junior division. The victory was especially sweet for the 17-year-old. She had never made a pie before in her life.

Becky Jo Lane's pumpkin pie took top honors in the senior division.

"We like Charlie Brown and have been watching 'The Great Pumpkin' a lot," she says. "So I decided to make a pumpkin pie."

Her secret ingredient was "way more cinnamon than you're supposed to put in it. It just makes it better."

Winners in this year's contest were: adult division -- Wesley Dills, Becky Jo Lane, Barbara Kaspick, Suzanne Tyner and Colleen Smith; youth division -- Micah Lee, Hannah Lee, Kaitlyn Floars, Jennifer Christopher and Kayla Sasser.