County fair kicks off with entry day

Argen Duncan

This year, Ellie Garduno of Portales entered white dinner rolls, almond cookies, oatmeal-cherry cookies bars, Mexican cornbread and anadama bread, a yeast bread made with cornmeal in the baked goods competition at the Roosevelt County Fair.

Garduno started participating in the contest eight years ago, five years after moving to Portales.

“It was to feel a part of the community because I was a fairly new resident, and I love baking,” she said.

Having inherited the love of baking from her mother, Garduno experiments, creates her own recipes and gets feedback from the judges at the fair. She said she works with recipes throughout the years, gives the finished products to family and enters the goods that receive the most compliments in the fair.

Entry and judging in the contest was Monday.

After 4 p.m., competition co-superintendent Nancy Legleiter said she’d received about 75 entries and expected another 25 to 30 before the entry time ended.

“It’s down a little bit,” she said of the number of entries, “but we have a lot of people who are first-timers.”

Legleiter said she’d seen more pies than usual this year, and co-superintendent Amy Garcia said quick breads and cookies are the most popular entries.

The two have been running the fair’s baked goods competition since they were in college 15-plus years ago.

“Family and Consumer Science, home ec, was our major, and this is a way to stay in contact with those kinds of people and encourage them to cook for their families and make things, because it’s more of a healthy lifestyle,” Legleiter said.

Adults, teenagers and children too young for 4-H all enter.

“It’s a way to bring the family together,” Garcia said.

Danni King, 14, said it was her mother’s idea for her to enter the contest for the first time this year.

“She’s crazy about cooking shows, and she likes to cook,” said Danni’s mother, Bobbi King.

Danni said she entered peach cobbler because it’s her favorite dessert.

“People eat it up every time she makes it — all of it,” Bobbi said.

Julie Beevers, another first-time competitor, said she entered this year because she was getting her 4-year-old grandson enthused about competing in the fair and he wanted her to enter zucchini bread. Her recipe came from a friend who died and was his mother’s recipe, Beevers said.

Although she hasn’t entered the contest before, Beevers does a lot of baking, especially zucchini bread, cakes and cookies.

“It just gives me something to do,” she said.