The three judges of today’s pie tasting begin their work cutting into some cherry pies. PATRICK KECK / STAFF
Photo: Patrick Keck
Photo: Patrick Keck

Clear skies and pies give a midweek boost to the Butler County Fair

Clear skies and refreshingly cooler weather came to the Butler County Fair on Tuesday, leading to an attendance recovery after Monday’s storms.

Board member Josh Robinson said that the Demolition Derby on Monday steadied attendance but expected Tuesday’s events and weather to make the numbers even healthier.

PHOTOS: Demolition Derby highlights Butler County Fair on Day 2

“Attendance will be high (Tuesday) because the tractor pull is popular and the good weather we’re having,” Robinson said.

The fair’s rides, such as the carousel and typhoon, were also back in operation after being closed on Monday.

While the sun shined, hundreds flocked inside to the event center for the day’s honey, pie, and junior fair nutrition judging competitions.

The Junior Fair nutrition project started at 9 a.m., just before the judging of the honey and pie competitions. Among the entries was Emma Puckett, whose pasta with vegetables and shredded chicken dish was waiting to be judged.

Puckett’s food was in the Racing the Clock to Awesome Meals section, one of the 16 sections in the junior fair nutrition project. In addition to the meal, contestants had to submit a booklet with one page per activity, describing what it took to create it.

MORE: Blue-ribbon pie at Butler County Fair fetches over $1,000 in record-breaking auction

Puckett has been in 4-H for three years, but this is her first year in the nutrition project. Last year, she took first place in the sewing and textile junior section and second place in the clothing project’s sundresses and jumpers section.

“I really like doing it because I get to follow directions,” Puckett said. “I also, a lot of the times, get to go outside of the box and make really whatever I want.”

If selected, Puckett’s entry could go to the Ohio State Fair, which starts today in Columbus. Also competing was Karri Perry, a fixture at the fair’s baking competitions, who had six pies in the pie competition.

Perry was awaiting judgement on her pumpkin, coconut cream, peach, cherry, banana cream, and lemon meringue pies, but had already had a successful day on Monday. Her blackberry jam cake won best of show and a first-place blue ribbon.

About 50 people were also waiting for the judges’ feedback of the 14 pie categories. Lori Schwartz, culinary department superintendent, led a team of three judges.

First through fourth places received ribbons, which Perry has collected in bunches during her 12 years at the fair. In total, she has received 115 blue ribbons and 21 best of shows, including her wins from other fairs and competitions in the state.

“I always learn something new and I think every fair season is a new chance to reinvent a recipe or try something that you’ve never tried before,” Perry said.

While still being in competition, Perry also enjoys the camaraderie that she has with other bakers, who discuss techniques and recipes.

Perry shares her winning recipes on her blog, “Blue Ribbon Kitchen”, and plans on adding the recipe to her winning blackberry jam cake, which is a family recipe from a 1976 family reunion.

Following the judging, the pies were made available for purchase at the auction last evening. Schwartz said in past years that pies have fetched as much as $1,300 and that Sheriff Richard Jones has donated purchased pies to homeless shelters.

Today is Senior Citizen Day, when both seniors and veterans will get in for free. The Broken Horn Rodeo will take place tonight at 7 p.m. in the grandstand. Tickets are $8 for adults and $3 for children.

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