Corporate Big Pie vs. home bakers? Lexington reverses course on July Fourth pie contest.

Fire up your ovens, Lexington’s annual July Fourth pie contest is on again!

For years, home bakers in Lexington have competed to see who has the prettiest pie, the best homemade pie and the best mostly homemade pie.

It’s been a traditional part of the city’s kickoff to the Fourth of July festivities: After the ribbons are awarded, the pies are sliced and pieces are handed out along with free ice cream at the Great American Pie Contest and Ice Cream Social downtown.

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But it looked like this year Corporate Big Pie was going to edge local bakers out of their tradition.

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“This year we planned to host only a Pie and Ice Cream Social because it came to our attention that for the contest, the pies needed to be made in a commercial kitchen in order to comply with Health Department regulations,” said Laura Beth O’Bryan, spokeswoman for the Downtown Lexington Partnership.

No more pie contest, home bakers were told.

But wait! When the Herald-Leader inquired about the pie contest’s apparent demise on Monday, city officials said a last-minute check turned up a new state regulation that allows home-based processing. It went into effect at the end of March, allowing, yes, homemade pies, the city learned.

“We’ll therefore be holding the pie contest again this year and are excited to see (and taste) our participants’ creations!” O’Bryan said.

O’Bryan said DLP was informing previous contestants and those who had inquired.

Carrie Peters has been participating in the pie contest for at least eight years. The Lexington resident and her two kids, ages 9 and 6, enter the contest every year. It’s a family baking tradition, Peters said.

She was disappointed when she was told that the pie contest had been nixed earlier this week due to food safety concerns.

Peters was elated Monday when she got an email from the partnership saying the contest was back on.

“My kids are happy and so am I,” Peters said.

So dig out your recipes and start practicing your flakiest crust. The pie contest and ice cream social will be July 3. Information on how to enter is posted on the Downtown Lexington Partnership’s web site. Only fruit and pecan pies will be allowed; no meringue or cream-based fillings will be allowed.