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Contestants spend weeks preparing for Elkhart County 4-H Fair baked goods showcase

People prepared weeks and months in advance for this year’s Home and Family Arts showcase at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.


Posted on July 17, 2014 at 6:08 p.m.

Carolynn Riddle — “like the joke” — spent almost three months this year baking food for the Home and Family Arts showcase at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

She freezes breads, rolls and muffins, planning ahead for fair week.

“We eat a little bit, give away a lot,” she said, smiling. “Then I don’t cook for months, we live off the rest.”

Foodies and crafters flocked to the Home and Family Arts Building at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds for open judging of baked goods, meticulously decorated cakes and a fashion showcase of handmade clothes.

Riddle was never part of 4-H growing up, but after retirement she got hooked. She’s been involved in the showcase for 12 years now.

“It’s just fun,” she said. “You can’t get deflated.”

Cathy Stump quit the Home and Family Arts Showcase for more than 15 years, but not because she didn’t have fun.

There just wasn’t time, she said, while she was coaching four kids through 10 years of 4-H each.

“I promised the kids I would not do the competition while they were in 4-H, because it was so busy,” she said.

Three years ago, she entered the baked goods showcase again. This is her last year to enter cakes and cookies before her youngest son enters 4-H. She plans to coach him through ten years of it, just like his four older siblings.

She ticked her entries off on her fingers in order: chocolate turtle cake, chocolate cupcakes, coffee cake, key lime cookies and gingerbread. The last one is her husband’s grandmother’s recipe.

Stump is a self-described recipe junkie. All her entries were made from recipes she already had at home.

“I’m a collector of recipes,” she said. “It was in my mess, my collection.”

One of Stump’s cakes was chosen as the sweepstakes entry in its class and entered for the final round of Best in Show.

Senior Queen 2013 Fancheon Resler earned the sweepstakes spot in muffins and pies.

Resler first took part in the showcase in 1977, when she was a 4-H group leader.

“I just wanted to know what judges were looking for, so I thought I should enter too,” she said.

It’s a hobby, Resler said, but it’s also a chance to see friends who used to be 4-H leaders or parents.

“I see people here I don’t see any other time of the year,” she said.




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