Machine-made bread, whole-wheat bread, quick breads, hot rolls, cookies, candies — the open class adult food judging took place at the Garfield County Fair Thursday.
The cases at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center smelled of bread dough — delicious, sweet and moist. Superintendent for open class food judging Linda Sader said the competition had fewer entries than last year. The junior division used to fill at least four display cases but this year entries barely filled half, she said.
“We don’t know why,” she said of participation. “You ask different people if they want to participate and they say they don’t have time, something came up but many are getting older. Most of the time it is the same people bringing items.”
Sader said the quality is there, the entry numbers are just down.
“I got tickled at one gentlemen who couldn’t believe we allowed bread machine bread,” Sader said, talking about how times have changed.
Judge Donna Jung, with Canadian County’s OSU Extension Office, said many times people get busy – parents don’t have time to help their kids or drop off entries.
Garfield County is Jung’s third fair to judge this year.
She tests the food items quality – its overall shape, how the outside is baked, does the product have holes – then she judges texture, taste and so forth.
“Is it too dry, too moist or too done or not done enough, has it been well mixed or not mixed enough — I look at it all,” she said. “But every judge is different.”
Jung picks up a loaf of bread and takes a slice out of the middle. She places the slice on a styrofoam plate. She pokes the slice, prods it, tastes a little bit of it and then moves it up in the rankings.
Her favorite part of judging is tasting all the sweets.
“Most people who enter have baked for a while,” Jung said. “But with the kids, the item may have not been up to quality but we want to encourage them to continue. They get excited when they see any ribbon.”
Once the judging is complete, some of the food items are donated for the Garfield County Oklahoma Home and Community Education auction.
That’s one reason Dewayne Colwell was at the fair Thursday — encouraging kids.
“Every kid who comes by gets a free (spinning) top,” Colwell said.
Colwell founded the Northwest Oklahoma Woodturners Association. The club meets at 202 W. Walnut at 6:30 p.m. the third Monday of each month.
President Tom Hight said he got started with woodturning after retirement.
“I needed something to do,” he said. “There weren’t enough students for the cabinet-making class at Autry (Technology Center) years ago, so I decided to take woodturning. I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Hight creates a form out of wood and pours a plastic polymer into the form, creating a marbleized look between plastic and wood. Several of his items are on display at the fair.
“It’s a fascinating hobby,” he said. “The only thing holding you back is your imagination.”
Colwell said he taught auto mechanics for years, he retired and decided he was ready for a change. He used to make doors and then started turning wood.
At the fair, the club creates tops for children as a way to pique interest in woodworking. The top is created right before the children’s eyes as a woodturner explains the tools and techniques.