An Afternoon With The "Pie Ladies" Of The East Texas State Fair

Jumbo hot dogs, turkey legs and popcorn - you can get it all at the East Texas State Fair this year. But one popular fair food is not made at the fair, but inside a church, and is 100% homemade.

If you've been to the fair, you know what we're talking about. KLTV 7's Molly Reuter introduces us to the 'pie ladies'.

It's a sound these Pie Ladies hear a lot this time of year.

Five at time, coconut, buttermilk, chocolate and pecan pies are pulled from the oven. Just today, Trinity Lutheran Church in Tyler baked 115 pies.

"Our church has had a booth out at the fair for about close to 50 years. They used to do fried pies and then in 1985, they started making from scratch pies, and it just kind of grew from there," said Linda Kittrell, one of the pie ladies.

The Pie Ladies have it down to a science.

They start making the crusts two months in advance, a thousand of them to be exact.

"We do all the mixes in advance. We do all the dry ingredients and put them together," said Linda. "I typically buy two cases of 15 dozen eggs a day."

A few decorations later, and they are off to the fair.

Trinity Lutheran says people come from all over East Texas and even Dallas to get their hands on these delicious pies.

"The first thing, they say is it really homemade, and we have to tell them that is started with a couple of German sisters who we call the pie ladies at church," said Larry Krumm, who's working at the booth.

One of those sisters, Linda Kittrell's mother, Clara, still helps today. That's why Linda says she decided to become a pie lady herself.

"Mom likes to cook the pies, but she doesn't like the organizational part."

So, what's the best pie? The answers we got varied.

"My favorite is buttermilk."

"I guess between the chocolate and the pecan... I'd have to go with the chocolate."

I guess you will just have to taste and decide for yourself!

Trinity Lutheran Church says it raises about $8,000 a year from its pies.

The money stays here in East Texas, helping with the church's Hispanic and youth ministries among other things.

The church says they also sell pies at Thanksgiving.

Molly Reuter, Reporting