Dixie Classic Legend

Have you ever been to a food contest at your local fair?  Well if you are from Winston Salem and been to the Dixie classic fair then you may have heard or seen the name Katie Gilbert.  Katie it seems is a living legend on the fair circuit and is the subject of this month’s hobby blog.

I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Katie recently where we talked about her 2000 plus “prizes” which were  won at local and state fairs. Most recent was the Dixie                                                


Classic Fair in Winston Salem this past fall.  Katie has been winning these prizes since 1941.  Her first ribbons were won for her sea foam candy, divinity & chocolate fudge. From that first win, you could say she caught the bug. She has been entering items such as rolls, pies, cakes, jams and preserves ever since.  Based on the prizes I saw, there is not one of these areas that she has not won several times over.

Katie’s biggest crowning achievement came from her 1991 Grand Champion win for the North Carolina Apple Pie contest. She still has the picture of her, her husband and her pie on her dining room wall.  Along with that win, she has been mentioned in numerous publications from the Hanes News, the employee magazine (while she worked at Hanesbrands) to the most recent mention in the Winston Salem Journal for her recipe for asparagus on toast. In 1999 Katie won the Best Ever Bread Contest for her light rolls.

Miss Katie is full of surprises. She told me that her prize winning sour chocolate cake recipe was given to her back in 1932 by a lady in Champaign IL. She has certainly taken that recipe and turned it into her own.  Katie told me that one of her favorite recipes are her potato rolls. When asked where she gets her recipes, she told me old cookbooks and then she “switches” them up.  She has developed enough recipes for a cookbook.  This cookbook was put together and sold by the Bethany Baptist Church in Winston Salem.  They sold enough of her cookbooks to have 7 wells drilled in India. Katie is very proud of that fact and who could blame her. Her church took her love of baking and turned a profit to help others.

She has great wealth in the friends who help to make sure she has all the supplies she can handle and she will buy what they don’t bring her.  While she wasn’t canning & preserving anything while I was there, she did provide me with a jar of recently made strawberry preserves.  I am waiting for the perfect time to open them. After all, these are prize winning preserves and like a fine wine, I don’t know if I will ever get another jar. 

I look forward to this year’s Dixie Classic & Stokes County fairs to see what Katie comes up with and how many prizes she takes home. Thank you Ms Katie for a delightful interview.

Happy Canning