Sheila Suhan, of Scottdale, won blue ribbons in both chocolate cake and angel food cake contests at the Fayette County Fair, taking place through Aug. 3 at the fairgrounds in Dunbar Township.
“I was amazed,’’ said Suhan, who previously won both in 2017. “There’s a lot of good competition – a lot of nice cakes.’’
These baking contests are one of many celebrating domestic arts, such as needlework, crafts, canning and horticulture.
“Hard work,’’ Suhan said is the secret. “It has to look nice. It has to taste nice.’’
Suhan's angel food cake was topped with caramel icing and salted peanuts while she used her go-to fudge cake for the chocolate contest: “I add things to my gob filling to make it special.’’
Ashley Minerd of Uniontown believes this is her fifth year to win the youth’s chocolate cookie contest. She used a peanut butter chocolate chunk recipe.
“I just put a lot of effort into it,’’ said Minerd, 17, a Laurel Highlands senior. “I worked a couple of weeks to get the batter right and then worked to get them golden brown and a fluffy texture.’’
Wendy Friend, baking and chili contests chair, said of this year’s entries, “The quality was very good and so was the taste.’’
Other results: chocolate cake: Cheryl Hixon, second; Chrystal Neil, Jefferson, third; Jennifer Diamond, Smithfield, fourth; Laura Wilson, Belle Vernon, fifth. Chocolate cookie: Delaney Shelott, Uniontown, second; Alaina Mari, Uniontown, third; Lucy Baker, Uniontown, fourth; Annika Orr, Connellsville, fifth. Angel food: Amy Kerestes, Belle Vernon, second; Ellie Cochran, third; Carrie Luster, East Millsboro, fourth; Cindy Moag, Dunbar, fifth. Apple pie: Betsy Haas, Vanderbilt, first; Amy Kerestes, second; Harley Bartholow, third; Sheila Suhan, fourth; Christine Minerd, Uniontown, fifth.
Judging for the chili cook off takes place at 2 p.m. Aug. 3.
The Home Ec Building hosts entries from open class adult and youth competitions, such as needlework, crafts and canned goods.
Creativity is apparent, such as in the Best of Show winners that include a scroll-saw picture of an eagle and Native American by Frank Engwer for handcrafts and a quilt by Anita Miklos for needlework.
Other results: needlework: Susan Jordan, grand champion; Amanda Rice, reserve grand champion; handcrafts: Kayla Hall, grand champion; Jackie Sprow, reserve grand champion. baked and canned goods: Betsy Haas, Vanderbilt, grand champion; Carrie Luster, East Millsboro, reserve grand champion.
“Entries are down from the past but the quality is good,’’ said Friend, who chairs the youth department, noting these exhibitors do not have to belong to 4-H.
Meanwhile, fairgoers can see results of the floral exhibits competition in the Fiddlers Building while the Grange Building hosts adults and youths exhibits for competition that includes vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and hay.
Frances Rosensteel, of Vanderbilt, who co-chairs the department with her husband, Dan, said, “We have a lot of fruit – apples and peaches. We got more this year than last year. It seems to be going up. We especially had a good turnout for everything for the youth department.’’
Intriguing are the largest specimens with several ribbons won by the Kaiser family of Farmington. Dan Kaiser won for largest beet, carrot, cucumber, green pepper, long pepper, onion and tomato while his son Mitchell won for largest pumpkin and celery and son Scott for red pepper. Angela Becker of East Millsboro won a blue ribbon for her large kohlarobi.
Rosensteel said, “We filled up the building thanks to backyard gardeners.’’