Pie prep for Fort Riley festival requires lots of time, energy

By Corene Brisendine

Volunteers have been busy making pies all week in preparation for the Fall Apple Day Festival on Saturday.

The festival is the largest yearly fund raising effort for the Historical and Archeological Society of Fort Riley. Military spouses and Junction City Junior ROTC members peeled, sliced, mixed and measured apples and ingredients Wednesday evening in an effort to make the last 353 pies needed to reach this year’s goal of 2,100 apple pies.

Valerie Blakemore, 2012 co-pie queen, said they plan to bake only 400 pies for the festival, and cut 100 of those into slices to sell on Saturday. Another 300 pies will be sold whole. “We always run out of those,” Blakemore said. “People like to come by and take one home for that night.”

The remaining 1,600 pies will remain frozen. Most have already been sold in anticipation of the event.

Blakemore said they initially bought 121 cases of apples, 100 apples per case; 900 pounds of sugar; and 300 pounds of flour, but that was not enough.

“We’ve found we had to run to the store for a few more because we upped the quantity from last year,” Blakemore said.

With all those Granny Smith’s to peel, volunteers were needed. Wednesday night, the 101st spouses showed their support and their pride by wearing special hats and aprons while helping make pies. Deshan Jordan, senior spouse advisor for 101 BSB, said she got involved last year. When her husband was moved to a different battalion, she continued the tradition of having hats and aprons for the spouses who volunteered within her Family Readiness Group.

Jordan said she enjoys helping with the pies because the money raised is for such a good cause. Other than supporting the Historical and Archeological Society of Fort Riley, money raised on Saturday also provides scholarships for the military kids and the spouse support groups.

“It’s just such a good cause,” Jordan said. “It takes care of so many of our military kids, and I know I have kids school age that would qualify for the scholarship.”

She said it also gives military spouses a chance to earn volunteer hours. She said that was the most significant reason her group was helping.

Along with volunteering on Wednesday, Jordan said her family support group would also be working a booth of their own on Saturday. While Saturday’s volunteering was strictly to raise money for the 101st BSB, the service on Wednesday was in support of the festival.

The volunteers worked until about 9 p.m. on Wednesday making pies, and more were up making and baking again at 9 a.m. Thursday. The festival starts Saturday at 9 a.m. and ends 3 p.m. at the Artillery Parade Field on post. There will be several activities, including an expositional tent, food and beverage vendors, live music, inflatable playhouse, military equipment display, petting zoo, wellness tent, a cavalry competition and last, but certainly not least the famous apple pies.

The whole unbaked pies will sell for $12 and whole baked pies $13 plus tax. Slices sell for $3 or $3.50 a la mode.

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