|AUGUST 16, 2010 --
Faith Roth's apple pie won first place at the Southington Grange Fair Saturday.
"It's really exciting to be judged by your peers to be a good baker," she said. "The apple pie contest is more subjective than others because we have to use our own recipe."
Other baked goods in the contest, such as a cranberry chutney coffee cake and the junior division's almond glazed sugar cookies, are all made using the same recipe.
Roth, who was a member of the Cheshire Junior Grange while growing up, is now eligible to enter the state Association of Connecticut Fairs apple pie contest. The pie that won at the fair, minus the small piece the judges ate to taste it, was to be auctioned off Saturday evening, along with the other prize-winning baked goods.
Roth is multi-talented. She also won a special award and first place for a quilt she made for her son's 21st birthday. He will be going into the Marine Corps in the fall. The quilt looks like an early American flag, with an eagle embroidered on the field of stars.
A photo Roth took of her daughter on her wedding day won third place.
The Grange Fair is a celebration of rural American life. There are no carnival rides or booths selling fried dough or smoothies. There was a pancake breakfast in the morning and by early afternoon, the chicken was on the barbecue and the corn on the cob was shucked for the evening dinner. Hot dogs and hamburgers were available for lunch.
Produce was also judged. People brought in their best squash, tomatoes, green beans and other vegetables.
"The judges look for consistency, size and no blemishes," said Jim Lamoureux, the grange's president.
Animals are also an important part of agriculture. But rather than raising animals for food, Cheshire Farm Sanctuary rescues abused and neglected animals and those destined for slaughter.
Jimbo is their latest rescue. The miniature Palomino was found in a slaughter pen, destined for death and processing at a plant in Mexico or Canada.
"Jimbo is friendly, so we think he was raised by a family that either gave him up because they couldn't afford him or got bored and sold him," said Daisy Gmitter, vice-president of the sanctuary.
Animals like Jimbo are purchased by animal rescue groups. They receive veterinary care and are looked after at the sanctuary. If someone wants to adopt an animal, sanctuary workers do a background check and visit the person's home or place the animal will stay. They also want to adopt pigs, chickens, cows and sheep. Eventually they hope that children and senior citizens will come to the sanctuary to visit.
Vendors also sold their homemade wares.
Wendy Whicher, from New Britain, has been doing embroidery and other fabric work for years. After giving many of her items away to friends and family, she finally took their advice and began selling them at area fairs. This is her fourth year at the Southington Grange Fair.
Some of the crafts Whicher sells were made by the women of West United Methodist Church in West Hartford. They use the proceeds for their ministry work.
She was selling embroidered works, stuffed clowns, aprons, baby wear, small quilts and little plush bears that she made clothes for.
"The ones in dresses have matching panties," she said, "so no one can get upset about having bear-naked bears."