How will we ever know...unless we have a competition?
It was the summer of 2002, and I'd spent three years learning the ropes of how the locals do the Sangamon County Fair. There were a few basic rules to know:
1. Friend a beer tent volunteer (probably your neighbor) = free beer
2. Enter livestock = free weeklong parking pass inside the gates
3. Enter fair exhibits = free entry into the fair all week
(pass your exhibitor pass thru the fence = all your non-local friends and family get in free too)
On the evening before entries were due, we were trying to decide which category to enter. A rivalry spawned as Ted felt confident his cookie making skills were superior to my own. I wasn't about to let the moment pass and challenged him to an official cook-off.
Battle grounds: Sangamon County Fair
Department: O-2 Senior Culinary
Lot: 1 Peanut Butter
Ted Mies vs. Julie Mies
The night before the fair came. We each made our own separate batch of peanut butter cookies, picked the most perfectly round 3 cookies in our batch, placed them on a 6" white plate, bagged and tagged them and sent them off to the fair. Anticipation mounted as we awaited the results from the judges. We'd heard there were 45 entries in the category, so there was a very good chance neither of us would place. Finally the doors opened on Wednesday morning while we were at the sheep show and we trotted over to the peanut butter cookie shelf to see how we did. This is what we found....
What the heck!!! How does that happen? He used a potato masher to make the criss-cross in his cookies! Mine were much prettier. I was robbed! Sad face. That was the day Ted was awarded Head Chef of the Mies Household.
Walking away in defeat, I knew I'd have to find a new route to go next year. This cooking thing didn't work out as I planned. If I can't beat this husband of mine, then I guess I'll join him. And so evolved the Mies vs. Richie Fair Entry Face-Off.
The first year we competed in the Duct Tape category. Now mind you this was long before the days of colored and decorative duct tape and YouTube videos of anything you want to make with duct tape. All we had to work with was gray tape, and our imagination. Because Bill and Anna's anniversary was during the fair that year, we made Bill and Anna out of duct tape in their wedding attire. The Richie's made an Illini Football helmet. My memory is foggy, but I think the Mies's ranked higher the first year. The 2nd year's category was refrigerator magnets, the winner would take front and center on Jean Ann's refrigerator and claim 'Mom's favorite' rights. The Richie's won that year, but Ted's Kiss Lips Magnet still made it to Jean Ann's refrigerator front.
Anna just picked this year's category,
Department: Senior Hobbies and Handicraft
Lot: 12-Fair Theme "The Sangamon County Fair is Out of this World"
If you happen to have experience in this category and have a clue of what we're supposed to make, MESSAGE me! But don't message those Richies.
Looking forward to another fun Sangamon County Fair. Get those entries in by May 31. And if you cross paths with Ted, be sure to ask him about his famous sugar cookies.