In the midst of the chaos that the fair can bring, I found solace in the most unlikely place: amongst a handful of 7 and 8 year olds on Thursday afternoon at the cookie decorating contest.
Ten contestants took eight minutes to decorate their cookies using different colored icing and sprinkles. With a blue ribbon prize at stake, the concentration in the room was palpable and cause for complete silence – and maybe a couple tears.
First place was awarded to Kendall Hudson, 8, for her cat-eye design. Her entire cookie cake was created to look like a cat face with two eyes, ears and a little nose. Her twin sister Katelyn took second place with a big orange and red flower.
Third place went to Finley Norfleet, 7, for her flowers and blue sky creation. Other entries included shapes, stripes and dots of colors and sprinkles. Some with lots of icing, and some with just a little. As one contestant – likely already experiencing a sugar rush – excitedly put it, “I’m making a color explosion!”
The name of this contest is missing an important word: cookie cake. The canvas these children are working on isn’t your average three-inch sugar cookie, it is a large, 18-inch rectangular cookie cake. Sam’s Club donates the chocolate-chip cookies for the fair contest, giving contestants the surface area they need to capture their creativity – and satisfy their sweet tooths.
“We send all the kids home with their cookies, which I’m sure their parents love us for,” Jeanie Scott, contest administrator, joked.
The cookie decorating contest is one of four contests that can only be entered the day of the contest. Children ages 4-12 can compete in the cookie decorating contest and sugar cube building contest in their respective age division, with an opportunity to take home a blue ribbon.
At this contest, only three entries won a ribbon, but knowing each contestant gets to take their giant cookie home leaves everyone feeling like a winner.