What I Learn From the Judges of the Boalsburg Memorial Day Pie Contest

We journey down the road to the Boalsburg, Pennsylvania Memorial Day Fair. We have dollars in hand to buy slices of whichever pies win the pie contest. We intend to stay to watch the Maypole Dance and listen to the joyous Little German Band. We will buy steaming hot dogs from the Boy Scouts.

For years, we’ve visited this fair. We call out to friends along the street and pop into the stands where sellers display art and jewelry and soaps and jellies.

This year, I linger in the shade of an oak tree by the pie judging table and make polite conversation while my husband secures his position in the pie line.

I ask about the winning pie.

I learn that this year, it’s a Skillet Apple Pie. Apple pie is back in vogue, apparently, while last year, everything was rhubarb and raspberry. One year, coconut dominated the scene. Another, lemon. But this year, it’s apple.

My husband gathers up slices of apple, peach, and strawberry in one hand, and he balances a third place cherry crumble and chocolate coconut cherry in the other. We’ll share these slices with friends and family on the deep green lawn in front of a beautiful historic Boalsburg home. We’ll pass around plates with forks and napkins and listen to the Little German Band play John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

As I wait, I begin asking about the pies. The judges tell me that the number one problem they encounter–that thing that ruins a pie–is under-baking. 

Under-baking. Taken out too soon.

We talk about patience, about waiting a little longer, about not doing things too soon. I think about under-baking, and I suddenly want to linger more, rest here for longer, and not do anything too soon.

All in good time.

I eat my pie slowly. At just the right time, my family turns their attention to the Maypole Dance. I love seeing the girls in their white dresses with flower crowns on their heads.

Finally, we journey home to enjoy a slow Memorial Day.

Boalsburg, PA Maypole Dance, Memorial Day
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