Winners named in Oktoberfest baking contest

Thursday was a sweet day in Seymour.

A baking contest was held that morning at the Community Foundation of Jackson County on opening day of the 49th annual Seymour Oktoberfest.

A variety of cakes were entered in the contest, including a sauerkraut chocolate cake, a candy corn cake, a cake featuring blueberries and red icing on top to resemble the United Kingdom’s national flag and more.

Some of the pies entered included a blueberry cream crumble pie, a chocolate buttercream pie, a dirt pudding pie and an apple caramel crumb pie, just to name a few.

Michelle Nichter brought in some colorful unicorn poop cookies made by her 7-year-old niece, Avah Howard, in the kids category for those under 18.

“Ava is crazy about unicorns, and she likes crafts and is always getting on Pinterest on my mom’s phone,” Nichter said. “So she came up with these after coloring and rolling the dough, then squishing them down, having her own little process.”

Nichter and her mother, Lavena Hauer, both brought pies to enter, putting a mother and daughter in direct competition with each other.

Hauer, who brought in an apple crumb caramel pie, said she has won the contest multiple times previously with her peanut butter, Reese’s and chocolate pies and once won a stovetop range from Luecke Audio Video Appliance in a pie-making contest a few years ago.

“I was shocked to win that stove with my Reese’s pie, but I like to bake and have been baking since I was 9 years old, Hauer said. “My granddaughter, Avah, made those unicorn cookies, and she loves to get her little step stool out to help me cook in the kitchen.”

Nichter won the contest about four years ago with a key lime pie, her favorite pie to make.

“I used to make cakes for the contest so I wouldn’t be competing with her,” Nichter said. “The year, I got first place, I think Mom got second, and when she went up on the stage to get her prize, she said, ‘My daughter, who I taught how to bake pies, beat me out this year.’”

Aldi was this year’s sponsor for the contest, and Troy Boshears, manager for the Seymour store, registered entrants as they came in with their goodies.

Boshears said the winners in the adult pie and cake categories receive $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third.

“All of the kids get a prize of candy, and in the past, we’ve given prizes to the winners, but we thought all the kids should get something,” he said. “We still judge them, though, so there are winners.”

One of the judges for the baking contest this year, Jackson County Jail Sgt. Josh Clark, said he’d have to be careful to not compare the baked goods to his mom’s homemade desserts because hers are the best.

“This is my first year being a judge for the contest, and I’m sure all of the entries will be great,” Clark said.

He and the panel of judges had their work cut out for them with 26 entries in this year’s competition.

The categories included whole pies with one or two homemade crusts; one-, two- or three-layered cakes; and the kids category for those under 18, which was cookies, candy or cupcakes.

Other judges were local radio personality Jay Hubbard with 92.7 WXKU and 99.3 FM/1390 AM WZZB, Jeri Wells with the Seymour Housing Authority and Patty Tormoehlen with the Seymour Planning and Zoning Department.

Wells, a first-time judge, said she prefers cake over pie. Tormoehlen said she notices the appearance of the baked goods first and next takes note of the recipes.

“I’ve been a judge in this contest for about five years, and I look for originality and something that’s different when I’m scoring the entries,” Hubbard said.

Entries are judged based on appearance, texture, flavor and originality, and the winners were announced later that day during the opening ceremonies on the North Stage.

Ashley Lopez took first place in the cake category with her white chocolate raspberry bundt cake, Hauer won first place for her apple caramel crumb pie and Chloe Auleman’s carrot cake cupcakes took the top spot in the kids category.

49th annual Oktoberfest baking contest winners


1. Lavena Hauer with apple caramel crumb pie

2. Jayne Clark with Dutch apple pie

3. Michelle Nichter with coconut pecan German chocolate pie


1. Ashley Lopez with white chocolate raspberry bundt cake

2. Abigail Williams with candy corn cake

3. Riley Kinney with red velvet cheesecake cake


1. Chloe Auleman with carrot cake cupcakes

2. Addyson Castetter with apple cider cupcakes

3. Avah Howard with unicorn poop sugar cookies