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Shiner festival pie contest gets best turnout despite rain

JJ VELASQUEZ

By JJ VELASQUEZ
July 2, 2010 at 2:02 a.m.

Judge Ronnie Leck, left and Gene Cerny, both of Shiner, taste pies during the pie contest at the 31st annual Half Moon Holidays in Shiner. Judges tasted 52 pies and ranked them. The winner would then receive a plaque and an apron.

SHINER - The rain forced Half Moon Holidays out of the park and into downtown, but that didn't stop the best turnout yet for the festival's third annual pie contest.

"With this weather and all, we weren't expecting anything close to this," said Anne Raabe, director of the Shiner Chamber of Commerce. "And the pies just kept coming in."

The chamber held an auction in which the pies were sold. All of the proceeds go to chamber projects and park improvements.

Fifty-two pies were entered into the contest this year.

Last year, the 30 pies entered raked in $4,500 at the auction.

With the money, the city installed 20 new electrical plugs in Green-Dickson Park, the original site of the festival before the rains, for recreational vehicles. Funds also allowed for an expansion of water distribution in the Shiner area, said Cyndy Hundl, who chairs the pie contest.

Raabe said the pie contest is a good asset to the community.

"Everybody can use the park, so it benefits anybody who goes to the park at anytime," she said.

Gene Cerny, who judged the pie contest for the first time this year, echoed Raabe's sentiment and said he had a great experience judging.

"You never hit a bad pie," Cerny said. "You get bad beans and chili."

"But all the pies were good," added Ronnie Leck, Lavaca County judge, who was also judging for the first time.

The winner of the pie contest receives a plaque and an apron.

Entries included classics such as apple pie and pecan pie, but a few less conventional pies were also entered - pear butterscotch pie, strawberry rhubarb pie, orange pie and poppyseed pie rounding them out.

At the judging table, judges kicked their taste buds into high gear, passing samples counterclockwise after tasting them and jotting a score of one to 10.

After a round of judging, the contest ended in a two-way tie, Raabe said, "We're going to have to re-judge. God, it's a hard job."

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