ROCKWALL, TX (June 23, 2021) Something very special happened a few weeks ago here in Rockwall County. The Texas House of Representatives recognized June 12, 2021 as the official Texas Pie Fest Day.
Brittany Hardin of Bonafide Betties Pie Co. and I, Melissa Tate of Tate Farms, started Texas Pie Fest in 2019. That first year, we hosted the festival in the spring on March 31, 2019 and a crazy winter storm blew in bringing freezing temperatures and sleet. After that year, we decided to host it later in the spring, choosing a date in April 2020. That year – COVID. Knowing that the one thing we could depend on in Texas was warm weather in the summer, we chose Saturday, June 12 for the 2021 Texas Pie Fest. We watched the weather for weeks as the rain continued to creep in day after day. The forecast for June 12 was clear, rain free, until – June 12. That morning a huge storm blew in and poured rain down on Tate Farms.
We got off to a rocky start. Brittany and I were on Good Morning Texas the Friday morning before, and apparently they reran our segment every few hours. By 10:30 a.m., we had over 500 people in the gates and about 100 cars waiting to get in. We were running behind because of the rain, but the day turned out to be amazing. All of the vendors hit record sales. We hosted about 2,500 people at the farm that day.
We had a pie baking contest judged by a panel of celebrity judges including Rockwall’s own, Mayor Kevin Fowler. We had a pie eating contest, a car show, live music, over 20 pie vendors, over 30 artisan vendors, food trucks, photo booth and ended the day with a huge pie fight. The McLendon-Chisholm Fire Department even showed up to hose off all the patrons covered in whipped cream.
Patrons and vendors came from all over Texas to celebrate the biggest pie festival in Texas in the smallest county in Texas. If you did not know, Brittany’s pie shop, Bonafide Betties Pie Co. of Rockwall, was voted Best Pie Shop in Texas by USA Today in 2018. She went from a little pie shop on the square to an award-winning, sought after, get there before they sell out pie shop. In 2020, she moved from the little shop with the yellow door on the Square to the cute endcap with a walk-through door facing San Jacinto Plaza and a roll-up door that faces Washington Street. It has taken longer than she hoped to get her storefront back open and I’m sure she feared the loss of some of the momentum she gained in 2018 with the award, but Saturday proved we are downright lucky to have the Best Pie Shop in Texas here in our own little town.
Brittany hopes to have the pie shop open in the next couple months but until then you can always email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for orders. She is still baking away and taking orders weekly. And everyone save the date for Texas Pie Fest 2022. Saturday, June 11, 2022 will be here before we know it!
By Melissa Tate of Rockwall, as published in Blue Ribbon News July 2021 print edition.
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