It?s time to get the rolling pins out, dust off the recipe books and create an apple pie fit for this year?s Marion County Fair theme, ?Apple Pies and Family Ties.?
Fair manager Stephanie Richmond said this is the first year, that she knows of, for an apple pie contest.
?Pies are normally entered in the Home Economics Food Division,? she said. ?But the board wanted to try something to tie in with the fair theme this year.?
After reviewing similar contests, Richmond said, the board tailored rules specifically for Marion County.
The pies will be judged 40 percent on taste, 20 percent on consistency, 20 percent on creativity/originality and 20 percent on overall appearance.
The first-place winner will receive $15, second place $10 and third $7.50.
?The top five pies will receive blue ribbons,? Richmond said.
? The contest is open to all Marion County Residents, except fair board members. who would like to bake two identical apple pies.
? The two apple pies must be checked in after 9 a.m. and no later than noon, Wednesday, July 28. An entry fee of $2 is required. Make checks payable to Marion County Fair Associa?tion.
? Only double-crust apple pies will be accepted, no other fruits may be added, but juices are OK.
? The finished pie cannot contain raw or uncooked eggs (white or yokes). Eggs must reach 160 degrees to be considered cooked.
? Pies must be baked in disposable pans because the pans will not be returned. All pies entered in the contest become the property of the MCFA.
? Each entry will be recorded and a number assigned to the contestant. The number will be placed on the bottom of the pan. No other identifying marks may be made on the pie or the pan. Only MCFA officials will know the baker?s identity.
? A limit of one recipe may be entered per person. Recipes must be included with entry and will become property of MCFA.
? Following judging, the pies will be sold to the crowd. The top five pies will be auctioned off in the silent auction, Wednesday night, and all proceeds go to the MCFA.
Open class decline
In the past few years, open-class participation has decreased, Richmond said, particularly in the horticulture division.
?Thinking back to when I was of 4-H age, there were more participants and exhibits, plus you would see many small square bales of hay, wheat and even milo exhibited,? she said.
Efficiency in agriculture is probably one of the biggest reasons small square balers aren?t used as much as they once were.
?Today, many farmers and ranchers use either the big round or square balers,? she said.
Another reason for the decline could be the timing of the fair.
?If produce isn?t ready to harvest for display, that substantially cuts back on exhibits,? she said.
Changing the fair schedule to a different date, though, would be unlikely. Still, Richmond and board members are encouraging Marion County residents to consider entering open-class exhibits.
All open-class exhibits must be checked in from 9 a.m. to noon, Wed?nesday, July 28, with judging the same day.
The fee, per division, varies depending on how many items are entered.
For example, she said, if someone enters one to three items, it?s free; four to six items, $1; seven to 10 exhibits, $2, and 11 or more items, $3.
?No entry fees are charged to youth under age 18,? she said. ?However, the fee for the pie contest is $2 no matter what the age of the participant.
?Entries that have been previously exhibited at this fair are not allowed to be entered,? she said.
Premium payments and checkout is from noon to 1 p.m. p.m. only, Saturday, July 31.
?This allows for management to clear out of the building and prepare for the demo derby, which is the fair?s grand finale,? Richmond said.
For more information about the pie contest, exhibits or the fair in general, call 620-381-0109 and leave a message; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Area residents can also mail MCFA at P.O. Box 304, Hillsboro, KS 67063; use Facebook at facebook.com/MarionCountyFairHillsboroKS, or visit the Web site at: sites.google.com/site/marioncountyksfairassociation/.
Even though the numbers have fallen in open class, Richmond said she believes 4-H exhibits have remained even the past couple of years.
?Of course,? Richmond said, ?we would always like to see and encourage more participation, and we invite any suggestions for change that anyone has.?