State Fair looks for best apple pie

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Once upon a time when proposing marriage in the folk ballad often learned during the early school years Billy Boy asked, "Can she bake a cherry pie?"

The Tennessee State Fair is putting a new twist on this old tune and is building quite a tradition from one side of the Volunteer state to the other by searching for and proclaiming annually the state's best apple pie baker.

That's right apple pie.

According to Kinsey Emery, chair of the State Fair's BEST Apple Pie contest, Billy Boy would have been much happier if he had found a wife who could bake an apple pie.

"There's a sweet tooth in all of us," says Emery, who has accepted the role of being in charge of leading the search for the state's best apple pie baker.

In recent years Emery has served as a judge in the contest and has for the past three years been one of the principle organizers of the event.

"I've seen just about every version of an apple pie that can be created. A couple of years ago the winner actually confessed that she had put a taste of Tennessee whiskey in her entry just to give the pie's flavor an extra kick.

"And apparently it worked. The judges found her pie topped all others and crowned her the state's best apple pie baker for that year," she recalled.

She said the winner and second and third place finishers in the contest receive cash prizes for their efforts but she added nothing can top the bragging rights they receive for being the state's "absolute best" apple pie bakers.

Now very much a tradition of the State Fair, a panel of judges with a reputation and knack for recognizing a well baked apple pie when they taste it will convene in front of a live audience on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 17, to begin their deliberations.

After thoroughly examining the appearance of each entry along with each pie's flavor and originality, judges will gather to render their final verdicts and a champion apple baker will be announced.

The winner is to receive a Tennessee State Fair championship Cutting Board, a $500 cash prize, and will have his or her recipe and personal story publicized in a number of state publications. A $150 cash prize will be awarded to the runner-up entry and $75 to the third place finisher.

The Tennessee State Fair opens on Sept. 9 and runs for 10 days through Sept. 18. A family tradition for the Volunteer state since 1906, the State Fair is held annually in the heart of Nashville at the State Fairgrounds. Providing family entertainment in a welcoming environment, a magnificent midway, and fun for all ages, the Fair is visited each year by thousands from all across Tennessee and neighboring


For more information about the State Fair, including directions and a list of activities and events, go to

Here's the rules:

First place - Pie recipe, bio of the winning baker, and photo will be published in newspapers and other publications statewide. Winner will also receive $500 and a Tennessee State Fair Cutting Board award.
Second place - Will receive $150.
Third place - Will receive $75.
Contest Date: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Mail-In Entry Deadline Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Online Entry Deadline Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Rules of the pie-baking contest:
Competitor must be a Tennessee resident 18 years of age or older.
Competitor must be an individual, not a company.
Only one submission per person.
Submissions will not be accepted without the recipecard attached to the container
(Do not include name or address on recipe card)
Apples must be the predominant fruit baked into the pie
All pies must be baked in a 9" pie shell
All pies must be submitted in a disposable container. Containers will not be returned to competitors at the conclusion of the contest.
Once a pie has been submitted, Fair officials will not assist in pouring, spreading, drizzling, etc. a topping onto the pie. Toppings MUST be on the pie at the time of submission.

Judging Criteria:
General Appearance 25%
Originality 25%
Flavor 50%

Directions for submission:
Each competitor will receive by email a copy of this information sheet and a Fair pass no later than Wednesday, September 14, 2016.
The Fair pass is good for free parking and entry to the fair for the competitor only. You MUST have pie in hand to receive free parking and free entry.
Fair gates open at 10:00AM on Saturday, September 17, 2016; how- ever, submissions for the competition will be received from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the Creative Arts Building. NO SUBMISSIONS WILL BE RECEIVED AFTER 12:00 PM. Please refer to the countdown clock at the check-in station.
Preliminary judging will take place immediately following the 12:00 PM submission deadline.
The final round of judging will take place at 1:15PM with a first, sec- ond, and third place winners crowned at its conclusion.

Submissions can be made online or mailed* to:
Tennessee State Fair Association, P.O. Box 24747, Nashville, TN 37202
*MUST include: Name, county, mailing address, and phone number of baker.
Dept. I- Creative Arts, Division 319-Bakery, Class S65

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