After a decade-long hiatus, Okmulgee’s famed Pecan Festival is back this summer, and OSU Institute of Technology’s School of Culinary Arts is taking part in the festivities.
The Okmulgee Pecan Festival is June 9 through June 11 in downtown Okmulgee. There will be live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, amusement rides, a barbecue competition, and a pecan pie contest, courtesy of OSUIT’s School of Culinary Arts.
The culinary school’s dessert competitions will be judged Saturday, June 11, with the winners announced at noon. Participants can enter the traditional pecan pie category, and there is also a sweet or savory category where other pecan dishes can be entered.
The four-judge panel includes Okmulgee Mayor Steve Baldridge, Tulsa World Scene Writer Jessica Rodrigo, Merritt’s Bakery President Larry Merritt, and Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief James Floyd.
Culinary instructor Chef Aaron Ware said the panel will judge each entry on overall appearance; overall taste; the texture, color, consistency and doneness of crust; and flavor, consistency and balance of filling
Ware said he remembers taking part in the Pecan Festival when he was a culinary student at OSUIT and assisting in making a pecan pie that took up the entire street.
“It was in the Guinness Book of World Records,” he said.
In addition to the competition, the Future Chefs Association will sell pecan treats they make during the festival. Some students have also registered to compete in the pecan pie and dessert contests.
“It’s important for our students, especially those interested in baking,” he said. “When you look at television and reality TV, so many cooking competitions are at the forefront. They need to know something about competition.”
A few of the chefs and culinary arts instructors will also be participating in the festival’s barbecue competition, Ware said.
“It gives us chefs a chance to get out in our civilian clothes,” he said.
Bringing the Pecan Festival back has been a true community undertaking, and OSUIT is an important part of the Okmulgee community.
“It’s good for us to get our name out there, and it’s a good morale boost for the students,” Ware said. “It’s something different for our students and our instructors.”
Pecan Pie Contest & Pecan Sweet or Savory Dish Contest
What: Competition with two categories: pecan pie, and sweet or savory pecan dish
Where: OSUIT tent in front of the Bell Building on 6th St.
When: Saturday, June 11. Entries must be turned in by 10 a.m. for judging and winners announced at noon.
Rules: Participants must bring two dishes or pies— one for presentation and one for judging. Dishes or pies that require refrigeration and contain dairy or cream products are prohibited.
For more: Go to osuit.edu/culinary and click on the Pecan Festival link