EATON — The Preble County Fair’s annual pie and cake auction on Saturday, July 30, brought hundreds of entries from all over the area. The top seller, a chocolate cake with caramel frosting made by Alex McCarty of Eaton, was auctioned for $90.
Organizer Annette Mann expressed pride in the event and the money raised. For the last five years, Mann has coordinated the event along with serving as a judge and assisting with sales.
“We have several categories,” she said. “Cake, pie, and also bread, cookies, and candies. We had approximately 80 entries in each. In each sale, half of the money goes back to the baker, and the other half goes toward improvements on the produce barn.”
This year’s significant improvements were made in advance of the auction. When the local Kmart went out of business, Mann and her team moved quickly and purchased the department store’s full sized commercial coolers.
“We’re really excited about the new coolers,” she said, “and they’ll allow is to display pieces from the winning submissions all week long. The money we make from the auction will go toward paying for the coolers.”
Mann’s favorite item of the day? Peanut butter cheesecake.
Jessyca Newton of Jackson Township entered for the first time this year, submitting a peanut butter pie.
“I have neighbors who do the auction every year, so I thought I’d give it a try,” she said.
Newton’s sister entered as well, with a double crust peach pie that took second overall in the pie competition, as well as sugar cream and pecan pies and assorted cookies.
“My family’s shown hogs at the fair for generations,” Newton said, “and this is one of the few years we don’t have any hogs in, so I’m glad I still get to be involved with the fair in a way.”
Lanier Township’s Jane Marshall said she’d lost count of how many years she’d been taking part in the contest, estimating her first year somewhere in the mid 1990s. This year, she submitted dozens of pies, cakes, cookies, candies, and breads, winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places throughout the afternoon.
“The backseat and back end of my car were full of baked things on the way here, and we had some things in another truck, too. My husband, Thomas, ices my cakes and helps me get all this stuff here to the fair. I couldn’t do it without him, and none of us could do it without the bidders. They’re really the ones who make this happen.”
Reach Duante Beddingfield at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @DuanteB_RH.