10/06/13 — Pies have become their family tradition

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Pies have become their family tradition

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 6, 2013 1:50 AM

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Leigh Sanders, Kelsey Sanders and Jackie Flowers perform their duties as directors of the fair's pie baking competition.

When Kelsey Sanders was a toddler, she remembers going with her mother to the pie baking contest at the county fair. Her mother was a co-director with Kelsey's grandmother, entering the pies and preparing them to be judged.

So, years later, it was only natural that the granddaughter would join the family pie team.

Kelsey; her mother, Leigh Sanders; and her grandmother, Jackie Flowers, are all directors of the fair pie contest.

"I've been doing this since I was 10," said Kelsey, now 15. "I remember coming out here in a stroller and just sitting in the stroller while they were cutting pies. It's a family tradition."

Kelsey said she doesn't ever remember not going out to the pie baking contest at the fair.

"I love doing it," she said. "I take entries and set the tables that the pies sit on. I help cut the pies for the people who come to taste and I help cut for the people who are judging."

She likes working the pie contest because she gets to taste some of them.

"I hope to take over in their footsteps one day," Kelsey said.

Mom Leigh has been helping at the competition since she was 13.

"My mother would get me out of school and bring me here to work," the 49-year-old said. "And that's exactly what I do, I get my daughter out of school for the day and bring her out here to work."

Leigh became an official co-director when she was 25.

When she first started helping, she helped cut pies and pass out plates to those who had come to taste. Today she gets to help decide what category a pie goes into and tags each one.

"I just remember how much fun it was" Leigh said. "As I've grown, I've seen some of the same people here every year. It's a good time to come see everybody. I enjoy talking to people, just like my mom. It's a fun thing to do. And I've learned a lot about pies, too."

And she's made a ton of memories with her mother at first and now with her daughter.

"I'm real family-oriented," she said. "Growing up, it was just always being with my mom. She taught me so much about pies. And I've done a lot of baking with my daughter, and she learned a lot about pies from me and my mom both."

Jackie Flowers has been a pie contest director since it began in 1974.

"A home ec teacher at Charles B. Aycock High School worked at the fair, and she called and asked me and my sister if they started a pie baking contest, would we be the directors," the 74-year-old said.

"My daughter started with me a number of years ago. Everything I was involved in, she was involved in -- by choice. She's always loved the fair."

Now, it is a family tradition.

"We always look forward to being together as mother, daughter and granddaughter," Jackie said. "When we finish here, we all go out to eat together to one of the booths here and just make memories."