By Ryan Cornell
STRASBURG -- Each August, the Shenandoah County Fair receives hundreds of entries for judging, ranging from baked goods and vegetables to craft projects and photography.
The competition is always fierce, with kids submitting their best and most creative works, and this year's fair is no exception.
Brenda Brown watches over four kids at her Strasburg day care five days a week. The kids work on their craft projects while at the day care, and are sending them into the fair for their first time.
"We tried to do entries so they wouldn't have to compete with each other," she said. "They're each in their own category."
Kyle Wilson, 6, created a cheery sunflower out of a terra cotta flower pot and popsicle sticks.
He even walked around the neighborhood collecting rocks to use as a ballast to keep the sunflower up.
Kyle's older sister, Kiersten, 10, created a patriotic wreath out of clothespins.
She got the idea from the inspirational project website, http://www.pinterest.com.
Brown said Kiersten is an active junior member of the Strasburg American Legion Auxiliary.
"She can decide whether to hang it on her mother's door or donate it to them [American Legion] and they could chance it off, but I think she should keep it," Brown said.
Collin Nicholson, 9, used a kit to build and paint a red and white birdhouse.
Matthew Seal, 11, used a woodburning pen, sandpaper, colored markers and shellac to design an artful campfire scene.
"My grandpa always does these all the time, so I always wanted to do it, so I tried it," he said.
Brown said the kids had fun creating their projects and plan to reenter next year.
"The fair gives you a bunch of cheap projects," she said. "Popsicle sticks and stuff that kids can do that's not real expensive for people to buy."
Cheyenne Haley, 11, will be competing in a wide variety of categories at the fair. She's entering submissions, including photography, origami, cookies, flowers and vegetables, for her first time.
While the flowers and vegetables come from her yard, two of her photos capture her out and about -- blowing air bubbles underwater through her nose and together with her horse.
A flood this spring may have wiped away nearly everything from the garden of 12-year-old Kyleigh Hepner, but it did little to dampen her enthusiasm.
Two years ago, Kyleigh won first place in the fair for her zucchini cupcakes with basil and cream cheese icing. Now she's back to reclaim the throne.
She said she's decided to make cupcakes out of fresh fruits.
"I thought it was something different and a little more healthy [than dessert cupcakes]," she said.
She's also entering a vegetable basket into the fair that will contain tomatoes, squash, zucchini, lettuce and corn.
"I would have to say my favorite part is just having fun," she said. "I have lots and lots of fun."
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or email@example.com