Scene at the fair

Follow this pie from ingredients to State Fair delicacy

How does a pie go from a few ingredients to prizewinning delicacy? Violet Lyford, 83, takes us along as she prepares pies for the Minnesota State Fair. 

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Violet Lyford harvested rhubarb from her backyard garden to use in her creative apple pie entry, which will have apples, rhubarb, cranberries and strawberries.
Lyford cut the rhubarb stalks to use in piemaking.
Lyford shopped for apples at Mike's Discount Foods in Fridley. Lyford likes to use a variety of apples in her pies rather than one kind. "I would be thrilled to win apple. So elusive," said Lyford about the classic apple pie category, which is the most popular.
Some of Lyford's ribbons from the various pie competitions in the Minnesota State Fair and county fairs over the past 30 years were displayed by her daughter, Rachel Benoit, on Lyford's living room couch. Lyford has entered baked goods in the Minnesota State Fair every year since 1991 and hasn't kept track of how many ribbons she has won.
Lyford peeled apples in her kitchen for her apple pies. Lyford has five children, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Lyford rolled out the top crust for her classic apple pie. Lyford was taught to bake by her 11th grade English teacher. The first pie she ever made was a cherry pie.
Lyford added the blueberry filling to her pie.
Lyford looked over the three pies that she baked over the course of five and a half hours on a Friday evening before the fair.
Lyford laughs with her daughter, Rachel Benoit, while baking. Benoit, who never learned to bake pies from scratch herself because she always had "the most delicious" pies to eat, came to watch and learn as her mom baked her Minnesota State Fair pie entries.
Lyford tastes ingredients while making pies in her kitchen. "I do love to eat pie," said Lyford. "It's definitely my favorite dessert."
Lyford talked to other entrants while standing in line to drop off her three pies outside the Creative Activities Building. She waited in line for almost 45 minutes.
Lyford stood in line to drop off her three pies outside the Creative Activities Building.
Lyford drops off her pies with Creative Activities judges Jeanne Markell and Mary Horsager.
Entries in the blueberry pie category are judged in the Creative Activities building. Lyford's entry is bottom center. There were 58 entries in that category.
Creative Activities baking judge Jeanne Markell, with clerk George Wuendry, right, checks the bottom crust of a pie while judging the creative apple category. Violet Lyford's creative apple pie entry is seen at far left. There were 40 entries in that category.
Creative Activities judge Rosemary Heines judges the aroma of Lyford's entry in the apple pie category. Appearance, texture, aroma and taste are all part of the judging criteria.
Creative Activities judge Rosemary Heines judges the apple pie category.