Over 50 pies were entered in the contest held at the California Mid-State Fair
NORTH COUNTY — On Friday, July 28, over 50 San Luis Obispo County residents entered apple pies to be judged and tasted on the Headliner Stage at the California Mid-State Fair. The contest was sponsored by Visit Atascadero and featured multiple pie-tasting panels made up of three judges each. Each judge was tasked with tasting close to six out of the 50-plus pies, deciding on their top choice.
Those six apple pies would then be judged more closely, and the much-loved contest had its three winners. The pies were judged on overall appearance, taste, and overall impression. The judges were provided with a picture of the whole pie before it was cut and divvied up between them. The judges were culinary experts in the county with years of baking experience between them all.
Miss California Mid-State Fair Queen Kerrigan Jensen and her court — consisting of Natalie Boyd, Jenna Wilshusen, and Shirley Horzen — judged the junior division of the competition.
“While they’re finishing up the adult division over here, I’m going to go ahead and announce the winners of the Jr. Apple Pie Contest. If you are here, please make your way to the stage,” said the emcee for the event, Payton Tucker.
Third place and the $100 prize went to Charlie Vidito, who was there to receive his award. Second place, winning $250, went to Evelyn Otto, who was not in the audience at the time.
“And can I get drumroll for first place, please? In first place, winning $500, we have Mason Granstrom,” stated Tucker.
Visit Atascadero, who sponsored the event, also provided $850 in prizes for the top three contestants in each division.
Once the top six pies were selected, the judging panels had the tough job of picking the top three winners in the adult division.
Both third and second place, which went to Cathy Vierra and Jessica Pahl, were not in attendance.
First place and the $500 prize went to Stefanee Maurice of Atascadero.
“It was an apple pie with a crumble topping filled with lots of cinnamon and love,” Maurice said in her acceptance speech.
This was Maurice’s first time entering the competition, and her goal was to place somewhere in the top three, so taking first place was everything to her.
“I think it was just a lot of practice,” Maurice says of her win. “I went through a lot of variations of crusts and baking times and approaches. Luckily my partner was willing to eat all of them.”
As a Cal Poly professor who teaches sports psychology, Maurice said the science of making the perfect pie was so much fun for her. She worked on her award-winning pie for the last month and made close to a dozen pies in preparation for the contest.
“I’m just in disbelief. I’m so excited,” Maurice added.
Feature Image: The Miss California Mid-State Fair court, Princess Jenna Wilshusen, Miss Congeniality Shirley Horzen, Princess Natalie Boyd, and Queen Kerrigan Jensen judge the junior division of the Visit Atascadero-sponsored Apple Pie Contest at the California Mid-State Fair. Photo by Becca Sligh.