WINCHESTER – Pie makers from around the area descended on Marker-Miller Orchards on Thursday for the annual apple pie baking contest during Apple Blossom Festival week.
The competition drew 16 people in the adult contest and four in the children's category. The competition calls for the participants to make and bake their pies on site within a certain time limit. They were graded on things like the pie’s presentation and its taste.
Michelle Wyckoff, of Star Tannery, won the adult competition, while Margaret Enloe, 10, of Purcellville, won the children’s competition. This was the first year that Wyckoff and Margaret participated in the contest.
“It feels great,” Wyckoff said. “It’s so fun. It was very unexpected.”
Wyckoff said that she’s had a passion for baking since she was a little girl and she wanted to challenge herself in pie making.
“I made lots of pies at home lately and decided that this year was the year I wanted to sign up,” she said.
Margaret entered the competition after her brother competed in the same event a few years ago. She said that the pie she won with was the first pie she ever made.
“It’s a really sweet pie,” she said.
Margaret said she was excited when she heard her name announced as the winner.
“I was just jumping around,” she said.
Contestants started making their pies at 9 a.m. and they had to be ready to put them in the oven by 10 a.m. Meghan Fisher, of Winchester, competed in the contest for the fifth time and won the contest in 2016.
Fisher said that the time limit and nerves are the biggest pressures pie makers have to deal with during the contest.
“Nerves play into it because everyone’s here, but time is also stressful,” she said.
Fisher said that while she spends much of the week before preparing for the contest, people who are new to the contest should take a little more time to prepare.
“You have to time yourself at home,” she said. “You also have to have everything pre-measured and pre-labeled in the bowl, so, when they say “go," you just open them up and dump in the pie dish.”
Fisher said that much of the contest comes down to luck.
“It’s the luck of the oven,” she said. “They run very, very hot here, so it depends on where it’s placed, how many times it’s turned. There’s also a fair amount of luck involved, too, for that reason.”
The winners won cash prizes and will be riding in the Firefighters’ Parade and the Grand Feature Parade.