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Local restaurant hosts a contest that’s ‘To Pie For’

Three years ago, Nancy Colburn and Jo Storie, owners of the Cranberry Thistle in downtown Jonesborough, learned of a unique holiday and cooked up a fun contest for local bakers to celebrate.
Celebrated annually on Jan. 23, National Pie Day was first created to celebrate the love of pie as an important part of the country’s heritage and to keep the tradition of pie-making alive in America.
The ladies of the Cranberry Thistle were inspired by the holiday and began sponsoring a pie contest, that, on Saturday, saw a dozen delicious pies come through the door.
Well-known locals Marcy Hawley, Heidi Ehle and Neil Boger judged the pies entered in four categories: fruit, cream, nut and miscellaneous.
“The good thing is we get to eat these pies afterwards,” said emcee Emily Edy after introducing the judges to the crowd. “And it’s free!”
The room was crowded with anxious pie bakers and their families, all waiting for the judges to make their decisions.
The bakers, who included both men and women, discussed the fine art of baking pies, compared recipes and shared tales of kitchen disasters as they waited.
Suzanne Chatelaine, mother of four-month-old Ethan and a Jonesborough resident for just six months, was there with her mother-in-law. They walk in downtown several days a week and when they saw a sign advertising the pie contest, Chatelaine’s mother-in-law encouraged her to enter one of her specialty pies.
“I like to bake and I’ve been doing more of it lately,” Chatelaine said, “so I decided to enter one of my pies.”
Chatelaine’s Bananas Foster pie earned an honorable mention in the contest.
Meanwhile, Lois Kyker’s Japanese Fruit Pie won over the judges in the miscellaneous division while her Butterscotch Cream Pie took first in the cream category.
“I’ve made pies for a long time,” Kyker said. “I love contests and I especially love cooking contests. I won first place in a Spam contest at the fair one time.”
Tracy Clark won second place in the Miscellaneous category with her pie called, Tracy’s Tasty Pie.
A Chocolate Pecan Pie took first place in the nut category while Dean Chestnut’s Apple Cranberry Pie won the fruit division. Billy Ferguson’s Munchkin Fruit Pie earned him a second place finish in the fruit division.
Other noteworthy pies that earned honorable mentions were Catherine Hulse’s French Coconut Custard Pie and Harold Kite’s Coconut Cream Pie.