"They had been retired when we got them," he said.
The peelers have been used about 25 of the 29 years the festival has been held.
"Apples were hand-peeled the first four or five years," he said.
The peelers also have been used in Indiana and Louisiana festivals. "We traveled to Rustin, La., and did a giant pizza for Louisiana State University one year," Wolford said. "It was quite an experience."
Charlie Orr, regional manager of Pizza Hut, and employees of the local restaurant, prepared this year's pizza with 90 pounds of cheese, 10 gallons of tomato sauce, 40 pounds of sausage, 25 pounds of pepperoni and 25 pounds of dough.
"It's a tradition," said Orr, who has helped with the pizza for 20 years. "We call all the gang in. We have a big time doing it."
The pizza is served free to festival goers.
Most of the people working with the apple preparation have been at the job since the first festival.
"We need to recruit some young ones," said Yankey. The apple peelers, sporting green T-shirts with an apple, large pie carrying an American flag, and "Salutes Our Veterans" logo, come out early, but only a few stay late, Yankey said.
"We don't have any problem getting people to peel early, but the later you go, the thinner the crowd gets," he said. "By the time we are ready to clean up, the crowd is pretty thin. It's not as glamorous."
Bonnie Smithers, a former Casey resident of Franklin, Ind., helps each year.
She recruited her young granddaughter, Cindy Smithers of Indiana, this year. Cindy chose to help her grandmother with the apples rather than go to school today.
People in the assembly line gathered around the work area to wash the apples, which are hand placed on the peeler, checked for spots, then sliced. Lemon juice is used to keep the apples from turning brown. Apples are placed in plastic bags until the pie is made.
This year's pie was made with 45 bushels of fresh California Granny apples. Yankey expected to be finished by 10:30 p.m. Thursday, then up again early this morning for the pie preparation.
The apples, 300 pounds of pastry, 150 pounds of sugar, 15 pounds of butter, 2 1/2 pounds of cinnamon, 1 1/2 half pound of salt and 75 pounds of corn starch were placed in the large pan this morning.
The pie will bake 12 hours before it is served at noon Saturday.
While the apples were being peeled Thursday night, Yankey worked with the apple peeling contest.
About 10 competitors tried their hand at peeling an apple without breaking the peel. Many of them practiced before the contest began.
"I've got them in every corner," said Yankey.
Some held apples on tables to keep the peel from breaking, while others held them in their hand and kept the peel close to the apple until the task was finished.
Yankey is sad to leave Casey County where he had been active in the farm community but is looking forward to his new position and living closer to his mother.
"I'm really going to miss this," Yankey said about his work with the festival.
Brenda S. Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.