Pie auction brings in $20,500 at farming festival
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CENTERBURG — Centerburg residents fed their sweet tooths for a good cause Saturday evening at the Oldtime Farming Festival pie auction.
This year’s 25 pies (with other added goodies) and three cookie plates from the children’s cooking competition brought in a total of $20,525 this year from 22 different bidders, according to Pie Auction Chairman Judy Litzenberg. The total almost broke the record set at last year’s action, which Chairman of Horticulture and the Scholarship Fund Wally Thomen said was roughly $22,000.
“I feel very, very good,” Litzenberg said. “I don’t think we quite broke our record over last year, but it was still amazing. It’s amazing to get all the support. I enjoy giving back to the community in the way that they’ve always given to me. I’m from here so, it’s just a great place to grow up and to live and grow old in.”
The funds raised are used to help local organizations, to help pay for entertainment at the festival and for three different scholarships for students studying anything in the agricultural field totaling $2,000, according to Thomen.
Thomen explained that the auction initially started off as just a typical pie auction at prices around $10 to $15, but within the first few years rose quickly to much higher bids thanks to the generosity of the community.
Joe Myers and his wife, Chris, have been coming to the auction since it started. Joe explained that the couple enjoys coming to the festivities that the festival provides, noting that it is important to him to keep the oldtime farming community alive. Joe said he makes his pie bids based on the other items that bakers put with their pies such as homemade furniture or baskets with John Deere garb. He noted that his favorite pie is cherry pie and agreed that the more a pie costs, the better it tastes.
This year’s top buyer was Chad Retherford of Retherford Trucking. Darius Hardwick of Hardwick Trees received runner up. Third place went to Toothman Structure Movers. While top bidders receive plates as a thanks, Hardwick said that his biggest reason for giving is because of his families reverence for the oldtime traditions that the festival represents.
“It’s simple, pure, small-town American fun,” Hardwick’s wife, Janet, explained. “We love it that it doesn’t have the big midway, the carnival rides. It keeps it really old-fashioned.”
The cookie contest allowed kids in grades K-3, 4-7 and 8-12 to compete with their cookie recipes. First place in each age group took home $25 and a ribbon, second and third were recognized with ribbons and all who participated received a participant ribbon, according to board member Kristi Layton. The three first place winners started off the auction with a plate of their cookies. Natalie Wingert brought in $85 with her chocolate chip cookies that won in the K-3 age group. 4th grader Morgan Gaboric won her age group, 4-7, with her Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint cookies, which brought in $45, and Emily Tayler brought in $85 with her Ruby Trojan cookies.
Gaboric explained that she entered the contest again this year after doing it with her grandma in 2017. She didn’t place last year with her “monster sugar cookies” and suspected that the raspberry jam helped her cookies move to the front of the class. Through the experience, she learned that baking can be challenging because of all the different ingredients it requires.
Also placing in the cookie contest were Ethan Kieffer and Jace Blanton in second and third, respectively in the K-3 group; Elli Brittenham and Skylar Hill in second and third, respectively in the 4-7 group; and Dikeisha Thompson and Megan Davis in second and third, respectively in the 8-12 age group.