Pie, the crusted creation celebrated Saturday at the 10th annual Olympia Pie Fest, has a sort of magic. Or so says “Art of the Pie” author Kate McDermott, who’ll share her wisdom at the fest, which also features a baking contest, live music and, of course, a whole lot of pie.
“There’s something about pie that just reaches people’s hearts,” McDermott of Port Angeles said in a phone interview. “It’s kind of magical and very special and full of warmth and love.
“Pie is something that we seem to want to share,” she said. “A good pie opens a lot of doors.”
A love of pie brought together the members of the Olympia Pie Bakers Guild, who’ve spent countless hours organizing the annual fest, raising more than $50,000 for the Thurston County Food Bank and Senior Services for South Sound’s Senior Nutrition Program over the past decade.
“We came together because we really enjoy the art of pie and because we wanted to do something to serve the community with that skill and that interest,” the guild’s Kathy Kinard said in a phone interview. “It’s a really sweet way to serve the community.”
It’s also a lot of work for the guild’s seven members — Andrea Ballard, Cheryl Bayle, Helen Kramer, Earle McNeil, Andrew Poultridge, Mary Beth Ricks and Kinard, all of Olympia — and part of the reason this fest will be the last.
“It’s been a complete blast and everything we dreamed it would be,” Kinard said. “And it takes a lot of energy.”
The guild — which also bakes for local nonprofits and does “random acts of pie,” delivering home-baked goodness to those they deem pie-worthy — will go on. “We’re excited for what’s next,” Kinard said.
Meanwhile, there’s one last fest to enjoy. Saturday will feature an auction of winning pies; live music by Keys & Cords, made up of pianist Brent Pendleton and singer-actress (and pie baker) Amy Shephard; and an opportunity to get advice from McDermott and fellow pie pros Kate Lebo and Sam Ligon, authors of “Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze.”
McDermott, known for teaching pie workshops and weekend pie camps, will answer questions about pie and life as the Piechiatrist, her alter ego.
“One woman asked the Piechiatrist if pie would get her her perfect mate,” McDermott said. “I said it was possible but that there were a lot of other things that went into that equation.
“Perfect anything is kind of scary, because we’re all just trying to make up life as we go along. Whether it’s pie making or a relationship, we’re all just trying to do the best we can.”
Of course, the main attraction at the fest will be pies, available for $3 or three cans of food per slice. Pies for sale will include entries in the baking contest (bakers must make two identical pies, one for judging and one for selling), pies donated by San Francisco Street Bakery, Eight Arms Bakery, Backdoor Bakery and Lattin’s Farm, and pies baked with donated fruit by students in South Puget Sound Community College’s Baking and Pastry Arts Program.
That all adds up to a lot of pie — “literally 1,000 pieces,” Kinard said — including gluten-free and sugar-free options.
“We’ve had all kinds of fruit pies,” she said. “We’ve had peanut butter pies. We’ve had savory pies. We’ve had cookie pies. We’ve had oatmeal pies.”
For her, though, the most delicious part of Pie Fest is the relationships she’s made with the other members of the guild, most of whom were strangers 10 years ago.
“That’s the beauty of the story,” she said. “I have six new friends I wouldn’t have without the guild. We came together because we like to bake pie.
“This is a testament to community and coming together around something you love.”
What: The Olympia Pie Bakers Guild’s 10th — and last — Pie Fest, a fundraiser for the Thurston County Food Bank and the Senior Services for South Sound Senior Nutrition Program — includes a baking contest, live music and lots of pie for sale.
When: 1-4 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW, Olympia
Tickets: Admission is free; a slice of pie is $3 or three cans of food per slice.
More information: olypie.org