Members of the Extension and Community Association (ECA), a group of volunteers for the N.C. Cooperative Extension, are gearing up for National Pie Day, to be observed this Wednesday.
This marks the first year the celebration will be held on the same day locally as it is nationwide, said Lucille Johnson, who has been serving as chair of the event since it was first observed in Lincoln County 16 years ago.
The day to celebrate one of the country’s most beloved desserts is put on by the American Pie Council, which, according to the organization’s website, is dedicated to “preserving America’s pie heritage and promoting Americans’ love affair with pies.”
The website also showed that a recent survey found apple pie, of which there are 231 varieties, to be America’s favorite kind, followed by pumpkin and then pecan.
“(National Pie Day) is always a huge success,” Johnson added.
The local event entails members of the ECA and other volunteers submitting pie recipes for a printed booklet and then baking two of each recipe to be sampled by the public. While the bites of pie are free, those interested in learning the magic behind the finished product can buy the recipe booklet for $3.
The ECA’s recipe for dough, which Johnson called a “fool-proof way to make a pastry,” will also be included.
“It’s used as a public-relations tool to show the community the good work we do,” Johnson said of the celebration.
Some of that work includes offering $1,000 scholarships from the sales of fried and whole pies in August and September.
Both sweet and savory pies will be available for the tasting. Johnson plans to bake a burrito pie, a chocolate eclair pie and a veggie pie. One of her friends plans to make an onion pie.
“Anything on a crust is considered a pie,” she noted, though she added that when first introduced in ancient times, pies weren’t consumed in their entirety. Instead, only the insides of the pies were eaten.
The pies, to be served at the Citizens Center in downtown Lincolnton beginning at 12 p.m., will be labeled, and attendees will be able to choose what type they’d like to try.
“We serve until they’re gone,” Johnson added.
Crowds typically begin lining up long before noon, she said.
At last year’s event, 185 people showed up.
To track the head count, everyone will be asked to register their name. A sign-up sheet will also be available for a dough-making workshop.
Tea, coffee and water will also be served, and chairs and tables will be set up to allow those in attendance to visit with each other.
“We see people we haven’t seen in a long time,” Johnson said.