Calling all bakers! Polish up your culinary skills for the Great American Foods Contest at the Finney County Fair.

The featured entry for this year's specialty baking contest is fruit pies. Judges will be savoring homemade pies from youth and adult bakers alike. First-, second- and third-place winners in the adult and youth divisions will receive gift certificates for $100, $75 and $50, respectively.

Entries in the Great American Foods Contest will consist of one fruit pie. The pie can be any flavor or fruit variety. All pie entries in the adult division must consist of a homemade crust with a homemade filling, made from any favorite recipe. No prepared crusts, mixes or commercial fillings are allowed for adults.

Pies prepared by youth in the youth division must have a homemade crust, but may use a prepared fruit filling if desired.

Entries should be exhibited in a disposable foil baking pan inside a large resealable plastic bag or cake box. All entries will be sold, so pans will not be returned.

No perishable ingredients (such as cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, custard, meringue or other items that require refrigeration to prevent spoilage) are permitted in pie fillings due to food safety considerations.

Recipes are helpful to the judges. Attach the recipe loosely to the bottom of the exhibit. Include your name and age, if youth. Recipes may not be returned.

Entries for the Great American Foods Contest will be checked in from 2 to 6 p.m. July 30 at the Grandstand Meeting Room at the Finney County Fairgrounds. Judging is held at 9 a.m., with the bake sale at 10 a.m. July 31.

The Family Community Education Council will sponsor the gift certificates to the top three winners in both the youth and adult divisions of this contest. The special awards will be presented at the County Fair Awards ceremony. Each exhibitor also will be rewarded with a cash premium at the close of the fair on Aug. 5.

Now is the time to brush up your pie baking skills. Get out your favorite recipes or search for new ones. You've got just more than three weeks to perfect a prize-winning entry.

For more information on the Great American Foods Contest, consult the Finney County Fair book or access the guidelines online at www.finneycountyfair.org. If you need to speak to someone about a fair question, call the Finney County Extension Office at 272-3670.

See my blog at swktalk.com/livingwell for upcoming messages on fresh cherries and home-canned fruit pie fillings.