By Sue Moore
The upcoming Harvest Festival wouldn’t be complete without a successful pie-judging contest, according to Don Wiertella, the co-chairman of the event along with John Polasek. “We want to get the word out early to find the champion pie bakers we know that are out there. We think we will get even greater participation by more advance information so pie bakers can plan ahead to prepare their specialty pies that their family and friends clamor for,” Wiertella said.
For the last few years the festival has taken place on the last Sunday of September. This year that’s September 25 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
A Harvest Festival would not be complete without celebrating the fabulous harvest of fruits and vegetables for the year. The pie baking contest came into being seven years ago when the first Harvest Festival was organized by the Historical Society. “It’s a great way for Vicksburg’s agricultural community to show its wares for the past season,” Polacek said.
The event utilizes the grounds in the Historic Village to celebrate the harvest. It has lots of community involvement in planning the event and staging tons of activities for what was estimated as 3,000 in attendance in 2015. The animal exhibit has been particularly attractive to children who seldom get a chance to see sheep, lambs, alpacas, pigs, goats, and a wide variety of critters from David Critchlow’s alligator farm.
The contest for pie baking has two categories: best fruit pie and best cream pie. A blue ribbon will be awarded for first place and yellow ribbon for second. The best overall pie with receive a grand prize ribbon as determined by three adult judges chosen from local restaurants and the Historical Society.
The criteria for the judges to make their decisions includes crust: color, flavor, texture, doneness (20 points); overall appearance (15 points); flavor: strength and balance; filling: consistency, doneness, moistness, flavor; creativity: (10 points). Each contestant is responsible for refrigeration of their pies.
Pies should be delivered to the Depot Museum at the Vicksburg Historic Village on Sunday, September 25 between 9 and 10 a.m. Judging will take place at 10:30; results will be announced by noon. Individuals may only enter one pie in each category and need not be present to win. They can either choose to take their pie home with them after the judging or allow the pie to be sold at the Harvest Festival to help raise money for the Historical Society.