How many human being does it take to peel 50 bushels the apples because that what’s billed together the world’s largest apple pie? no as many as you might think, according to Lydia Coffey, that oversees that significant task. 5 to 10 pie makers peel, slice, measure and also fill a custom-built, stainless steel pan—10 feet in diameter and also 10 customs deep—with every the necessary ingredients.

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They finish the peeling and slicing on Thursday night of Casey County’s yearly Apple Festival, booked September 21-23 this year. The crew tons the apples right into a peeler that cores and also peels them. Then, the apples walk to another component of the peeler because that slicing. The sliced apples drop into a pan that lemon juice to stop them from transforming brown. Workers then store all the apples in huge plastic bags, ready for the following day’s work. 


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The Pie

On Friday, from about 9:30 a.m. Till noon or a small after, the pie crew assembles the pie. First, crew members clean and also oil the pan. They climate use boat paddles come cover the pan v pieces the piecrust, adhered to by a class of apples, and then the filling. Lock repeat this procedure three times, finishing with one more layer of crust and also a lattice top. Although it sounds like a the majority of work, this pie is only fifty percent the original size. In the beforehand Apple Festival years, 100 bushels of apples were supplied to type five or six layers in one 8-foot pan. 

For Coffey, the many nerve-wracking component of the procedure occurs once the pie is ready for the oven. Back she has actually the utmost confidence in the forklift driver, she holds her breath once he lifts the pie indigenous its platform, backs the from under the occupational tent, and also moves toward the oven’s open twin doors. After the pie slides right into the oven, the range doors close, the baking begins, and also Coffey resumes breathing. Someone continues to be with the pie come protect and check it throughout the night.

As the pie comes out of the cooktop at noon top top Saturday after ~ baking 12 hours, Coffey’s nerves begin dancing again. However, as soon as the pie is in place, she and also the pie crew can celebrate in earnest. One more year. An additional pie. A item of cake (or, in this case, pie).

The workers use huge scoops to fill serving pans. After lock dip heat apple pie native the external edges, they use their boat paddles to press the materials of the pie’s center to the sides of the pan. Countless visitors gain a generous portion of apologize pie à la mode at no charge. Any type of leftovers go to the local jail because that the adhering to week’s dessert.

Liberty’s IGA bakes a giant cacao chip cookie top top Wednesday night, and also Pizza Hut gives a huge pizza Thursday night, both likewise served complimentary to the public. V these giant treats, no one should leave the apologize Festival hungry. In addition to cookie, pizza and pie, merchants offer a range of tasty treats, consisting of the normal burgers and also funnel cakes, plus locally made fried apologize pies. Far better get a fried pie first. They offer quickly.

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The People

Lois Sandusky and her daughter, Jo Ann Pratt, make numerous of those fried pies. They spend most of the to apologize Festival at home making the pies and also filling jars v pie filling. Lois’ recipe came from her mother and also is an ext than 100 years old. “It makes a great ice cream topping and also pie filling,” she said. 

Jo Ann’s husband, Darin, oversees your booth, whereby he sells the pies, jars the filling and also bagged apples from the only remaining advertising apple orchard in Casey County. Lois said she and also her late husband, Ottis, grew apples for at the very least 40 years. Jo Ann and also Darin began helping around four years before Ottis’ fatality in 2015. 

The vision because that an to apologize festival started in the early on 1970s through Marion Murphy. As an agriculture teacher at the Casey ar Vocational School, his objective was to rise local farmers’ income. He claimed the ar had approximately 225,000 to apologize trees with no way of marketing the apples and also no publicity. Commercial growers were selling apples in paper bags from their yards, so he claimed he determined to “make a tiny noise come tell civilization they to be there.” 

Murphy stated his idea to his friend, Greg Lawhorn, a welding teacher, and then to regional fruit growers. Apologize grower George Wolford’s excited matched the of Murphy and also Lawhorn. Although “no one knew what they to be doing,” Lawhorn said, they and also other committee members began putting with each other the first festival. “The longer we talked, the more it came to be reality,” he added. Nobody imagined it would last. They hope for probably three or four good years to let world know they might find apologize in Casey County. Lawhorn claimed those beforehand years “just about worked us all to death.”

Lawhorn stated he and also his welding shop students made a huge metal box for the oven and a pan that “leaked prefer crazy.” Wolford, a professional electrician, handled the wiring because that the oven. Lawhorn claimed they had “no to plan or blueprints—all to be trial and also error.” an engineer through GE in Louisville tested your equipment, and, back crude, the worked. Expansion agent Shirley Shepperson listed a straightforward apple pie recipe they multiplied because that 100 bushels of apples. Following a test operation at the high school, they presented the public to the world’s biggest apple pie in 1974. 

Now making use of a third-generation oven and also pan, the festival and the pie proceed to improve. Murphy said he and Wolford may have actually “led the parade” in placing the festival together, but “you can’t chef an elephant uneven you have actually a big pot.” because that that, he thanks Lawhorn. 

Wayne Hughes kept the oven in his to apologize barn the an initial two seasons, till the group secured various other storage. Hughes sold his apologize orchard in 1999, complying with a leukemia diagnosis 2 years earlier. Although his health cut short his active involvement in the festival, it did no diminish his support. That still enjoys city hall the assembly that the pie and telling newcomer a little bit of its history.

Wolford, who passed away in 2012 in ~ 90, managed the pie preparation. After ~ a couple of years, he asked Lydia Coffey to take the reins. Return Coffey and also her husband, Jim, had helped him since the festival’s at an early stage years, Coffey admits she lattice topping fails to measure as much as Wolford’s an exact spacing. 

Bea Edwards, 95, continues as the unofficial crust sheet crimper. She currently lives in Anderson, Indiana, but this Casey County indigenous returns every year. She had actually to forgo her crimping a pair of years following a fall that hurt her back. However, she reverted full force in 2015. She circles and also crimps the large pie in ~ a speed and also precision few people half her age could equal. She said when Wolford saw her early work, he want her to proceed the crimping since she “did the best.” 


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The Purpose

For many people with Casey county roots, the apologize Festival serves as an annual homecoming, a time come see former classmates and also friends. Although tasks begin the Saturday before, during the critical weekend in September, the town of Liberty grow to 5 times its typical size, v 50,000-60,000 tourists for the event. 

People also come from around the human being to get a watch at and taste of the giant pie and also enjoy the setting of little town fun. Pageants, music, a carnival, a parade, a vehicle show, a 5K run, fireworks and more than 200 vendors offer a complete plate of entertainment as well as pie. The festival’s contests encompass a assignment bee, frog jumping, pedal tractor pull, pond driving and apple peeling. Arts, crafts and flea-market items abound. 

 “Our goal is to encourage Casey County and all the qualities and fine points we produce here in ours county,” festival chairperson Deva Hair said. “Casey ar has difficult workers, who put everything together because that the world who resolve enjoy.” 

In enhancement to the committee and other volunteers, the local jail allows inmates with great behavior to aid with set-up and clean-up. This provides them an possibility to benefit from the neighborhood atmosphere and frees the volunteers for other responsibilities.


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The Plans

Hair claimed the to apologize Festival “has placed Casey ar on the map,” especially because its designation as the ideal festival in Kentucky number of times in recent years by various entities. However, similar to any good festival, the Casey ar team strives for continuous improvements. Hair pointed out bigger, much better and much more organized events. Coffey would choose to see an increase in crafts and activities to highlight regional culture. 

If you to visit Casey County’s apple Festival, take her time, stroll the streets, and soak in the sights, smells and tastes that a ar that knows exactly how to gain food, fun, friends and also family.