best pie: pear walnut pie. when i complimented the baker on her prowess, i sort of got a "yeah-i-know" reaction that reminded me of this scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-7f7vVCqvI.
overall, the vibe was really good. music by by the Wildgeeses was special.
thoughts on what makes for great pie:
consistency: if the crust is too "rustic" or mis-shapen, sometimes the homemade quality of pies overwhelms and distracts.
filling clarity: if the filling is a mixmash of flavors, the pie can be tough to pull off. the use of spices should be intentional and subdued unless the spice is in the name of the pie. likewise, all the filling ingredients need to be cooked perfectly; no mushy apples!
color: using egg wash to darken a crust is a good move, but can easily lead to burning. anything to avoid that "sandpaper" look.
sweetness: sweet pies can be too sweet, leading to a muddying of the ingredient flavor. the ingredient (e.g. blueberry) should come bursting forth on the palate, without that itchy saccarine feeling afterwards in the back of the throat. restraint, restraint, with the hand that pours the sugar!
this guy (below) won pie-eater of the day, in my eyes anyway. he took a piece of every kind of pie and then crushed the entire plate. this is him half-way through. by comparison, i had to stop after my fourth slice.