By Sally Voth firstname.lastname@example.org
Tucked away from the roar and smoke of the tractor-pull and the sounds and smells of the livestock barns Saturday at the Shenandoah County Fair, beautiful blooms, delicious desserts and creative projects were being admired and rated.
Overseeing the competition in the arts and crafts building was Virginia Stultz, superintendent of that competition. She said it takes the judges -- all of whom were from out of Shenandoah County -- several hours to decide which entries would be ribbon winners.
Judges were gathered around tables sampling homemade breads, cookies, cakes, pies, candy, inspecting quilts and other textile projects, rating paintings, baskets, and photos, and looking over flowers, plants and other horticulture. Wines and preservatives were also among the many items being judged.
The competition was broken down into various departments, including youth age groupings -- to as young as 4 and 5 -- adult, nursing and adult home residents and mentally and/or physically challenged individuals, Stultz said.
Kevin Cubbage and his mother, Geraldine Cubbage, both of Luray, were tasting breads.
"We've got biscuits and yeast bread, fruit muffins," Mrs. Cubbage said.
Both volunteer at the Page Valley Fair in addition to acting as judges at other fairs.
"We just go to other counties to help them out," Cubbage said. "They help us out when we need judges, too. It's part of the fair.
"It's nice to see all the hard labors that people put into it -- their special recipes that we get the honor of judging. I'm sure a lot of the recipes are family recipes that are passed down from generation to generation."
At a nearby table, Dorothy Miller of Raphine and Bonnie Frederick Germantown, Md., were judging the quilts.
"We're looking for construction, appropriate fabric, for the quality and appearance," Miller said.
Jaiden Venute, 9, of Queens, N.Y., was making her second trip to the Shenandoah Valley. She is visiting her grandmother, Kathy Venute, and an aunt who were helping out in the youth arts and crafts competition. But, it was Jaiden's first trip to the fair.
"I think it's really cool, seeing all the kids' projects," she said. "We saw cows and we saw the pigs, and we saw lambs and sheep and goats."
Maurertown resident Mike Cook was acting as assistant superintendent in the floriculture categories.
In that role, he receives the entries and puts them into the right places and makes sure they're watered throughout the week. Cook also entered some of his flowers, vegetables and canned goods.
"In my opinion, it's one of the best flower shows we've ever had as far as quality," he said. "We had quite a few entries also, a lot of participation."
As far as why Cook enters the competition, "I guess I just like seeing things grow," he said. "[It's a] joint project. I plant it and harvest it, and God does the rest of it."