FRANKLIN - Onlookers lingered around six blueberry pies at the town's 25th annual July Fourth Celebration waiting for the winner to be announced so they could score a slice of the award-winning pie. "My kids didn't want to eat the extra pie I made this morning, but I made them," said first-place winner Celeste Kopech of Franklin, who had to have someone try her pie before she submitted it for the contest. Kopech won first place for her pecan-crusted blueberry pie in the Milford Daily News and Country Gazette Fourth of July contest on the Town Common.
Video: Blueberry pie contest judging
Onlookers lingered around six blueberry pies at the town's 25th annual July Fourth Celebration waiting for the winner to be announced so they could score a slice of the award-winning pie.
"My kids didn't want to eat the extra pie I made this morning, but I made them," said first-place winner Celeste Kopech of Franklin, who had to have someone try her pie before she submitted it for the contest.
Kopech won first place for her pecan-crusted blueberry pie in the Milford Daily News and Country Gazette Fourth of July contest on the Town Common.
Hope Hotchkiss of Franklin was awarded second place and Cathy Allen of Franklin won third place.
"We tried the first place pie because I had to find out who beat me," said Hotchkiss, whose husband, John Shea, calls her a "legendary pie maker."
The judges were Franklin town officials including Councilor Carlo Geromini, Assistant Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski, Councilor Vice Chairman Deb Bartlett, Town Clerk Debbie Pellegri and Bethany Edwards, managing editor of The Milford Daily News.
"I liked the contest," said Pellegri, who also is co-chairman of the July Fourth event. "I'm the one that asked them to do blueberry pie this time."
The pies were judged on appearance, crust and filling with 15 being a perfect score, said Geromini.
Kopech said her secret was putting a unique twist on a traditional blueberry pie.
"There's little peaches in there, a little tapioca pudding and then of course the pecans on the top," said Kopech whose speciality is a raspberry tart.
Hotchkiss stuck to a traditional recipe and even cut a "B" into the crust.
"I love making pies and people love eating my pies so I decided to enter on today," said Hotchkiss, who learned how to cook from her mother.
Allen never made blueberry pie before the contest.
"I just thought I'd bake one. Why not, it's a nice day to come out," said Allen.
Allen's daughter, Jennifer, a North Attleboro resident, also made a pie using a different recipe. Elizabeth Cook of Franklin and Bonnie McCollom of Hopedale also submitted pies for the contest.
McCollom was the two-time winner of the Milford Daily News Apple Pie contest held around Thanksgiving time. She said she never baked a blueberry pie before and had to search for recipes.
"I made two last week and my family was my guinea pigs," said McCollom.
Cook signed up for the contest because her son Nathaniel, 4, likes to help her bake.
"I live the next block over so we walk over to this every year," said McCollom, who combined two recipes for her pie.
Geromini, who judged the chocolate chip cookie contest last year, said all the pies were good, but the filling is the deciding factor.
"Everybody did a good job this year and nobody's a loser," said Geromini.
While Geromini was going back for seconds, Sabolinski and Bartlett said they were full.
The first place prize was a four pack of box seat tickets to a New England Revolution game with parking; second prize was a $50 gift certificate to L'Equpe Salon in Franklin and third place was awarded a $10 gift certificate to With Heart and Hand in Norfolk.
Bryan Kopech won 2 Cinema World tickets and Beth Kaplan won a 10 pack to the Pawtucket Red Sox game on July 23 - The Milford Daily News night - in a raffle also held yesterday.
The contest was part of the Franklin celebration, which started Friday and continues through Wednesday, said Pellegri.
Pellegri's favorite part of the event is seeing people who come back to town just for the July Fourth celebration.
"It's all about getting together for a good hometown time," said Pellegri.
The celebration has rides, children's games and food during the day and shows every night, said Pellegri.
The traditional parade will be held today and the children's parade will be on Wednesday, she said.
Amber Herring may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-634-7546.