Beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 20, some of judges got their first look at the thousands of entries in the Green Barn, which ranged from jams and jellies to baked goods, photographs, artwork, hand-made clothing, needlework, antiques, flowers, fruits and vegetables.
At about that time, my phone rang.
Because of a last minute cancellation, I was asked to join the ranks of those judges and my assignment — baked goods. Can a Monday morning start any better than that?
I joined Lena Pantely, her mom Gina Pantely and Walter Herndon (the first male baked goods judge) for our assignments from Superintendent Beth Timmerman for the 10 o’clock shift of judges.
Lena Pantely and I would judge the 13-17-year-old division of 53 entries. And, the best part was — we had to taste each and every entry. Plus, pick a champion at the end. And we were just four of a large number of judges who volunteered in the baked goods section Monday.
With the help of Marlene Larder, who let us know which class we were judging, how many were in it, and assisted us with the proper placing of the premium ribbons, we were off and tasting.
There were double-crusted pies and single-crusted pies, brownies, yeast and quick breads, muffins, cookies and cupcakes. Even candy.
We tasted banana, chocolate, butterscotch, blueberry, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet, super-duper sweet, not-so-sweet, kinda doughy, kind of over baked and kind of under baked, and baked just right. It was a smorgasboard of all things sugar and gooey and soft and hard and flat and iced and sprinkled and, well — it was just a sweets-loving person’s dreamland.
And we had so much fun with the first age group, we volunteered to continue and taste 34 more entries. This time made by 6-8 year olds.
We gave out blue ribbons and red ribbons, white and green. Even some honorable mentions in the larger classes.
So when we were done, Lena Pantely and I tasted 87 kinds of baked goods.
“Total entries were about the same as last year,” Timmerman said, totaling 308. The decorated cake entries were way up this year, and cupcakes, too, are growing in popularity.
For Gina Pantely, this was her fourth year judging baked goods while Herndon was recruited when he stopped by Pantely’s restaurant to pick up a dinner to go “and got tapped,” he said.
“I’m not a sweets eater,” Herndon said, “So it has to be good and I compare it to my wife’s baking. Patty Jo makes the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.”
So, it was lucky for the entrants that none of that flavor of cookie was entered.
My fellow judges agreed that there were some mighty fine baked goods entered in the fair this year and the community had outdone itself when it came to all things sweet and very tasty.
At the other end of the Green Barn, in the Arts and Hobbies area, Linda Westcott and Judy Ferry were judging pencil drawings and clay-fired creations. “They put a lot of thought into these,” Ferry said of the kids who created the artwork.
Although she said there had been more adult entries in previous years than this year, the children’s arts and hobbies entries were holding steady.
Judge Linda Shears said the art work she’d judged “was very creative,” for the age group, and her fellow judge, Sheri Spears, agreed.
“It’s artistic and creative and this time of year brings out a lot of talent,” Spears said.
So when you head to the fair today for the first full day of fun, check out the Green Barn and plan to enter your favorite recipe or art project for next year.
Tags: Chelsea Community Fair