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Apple queen to judge national pie contest

Contact: Denise Yockey
(800) 456-2753

Donning her crown, the Michigan Apple Queen will sample pies from around the country as a judge for the 2007 APC Crisco National Pie Championships, held this weekend in Celebration, Florida.

Pauline Wendzel, who earned the queen title in December, will rate commercial pies on a set of criteria, including appearance, taste and overall impression. In addition to commercial competition, there will be professional, junior chef and amateur pie-makers competing against one another to earn the title of America's best pie in various flavor categories.

Roscommon resident Lucille Eisbrenner, winner of 2007 Best Michigan Apple Pie Contest, will compete in the amateur apple pie division. Bay City resident Carol Socier, winner of Michigan's 2006 competition, says she plans to enter more than a dozen different amateur categories, especially featuring Michigan fruits.

Wendzel, a junior at Watervliet High School, is the daughter of Brad and Joyce Wendzel of Watervliet. As a spokesperson for the Michigan Apple Committee, Wendzel makes public appearances to raise awareness of the state's apple industry. Her great-grandfather, grandfather and father have worked in all aspects of the industry including as growers, packers and processors. She was chosen from a field of contestants based on poise, professionalism and apple industry knowledge.

The Best Michigan Apple Pie Contest, sponsored by the Michigan Apple Committee, Michigan Sugar and Zehnder's of Frankenmuth, takes place in January during Zehnder's Snowfest. It bouts amateur pie-makers against each other in two categories: double crust and crumb topping. The top pie in each category goes head-to-head to determine the ultimate winner. As part of the prize package, the winner receives a trip to the APC Crisco National Pie Championships.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.