By Stephanie Butterfield
We have an exciting new event planned for the 2019 Washington County Fair. This year, youth enrolled in the cake decorating project will be auctioning off their cakes on Wednesday, July 31 right after the Style Revue in the exhibit hall. The auction is open to all 4-H or FFA youth who have completed a cake decorating project which meets the expectations of the 4-H or FFA project guidelines. Cake decorating is not a new project, 4-H members have been bringing decorated cakes to the fair for decades. Now, however, youth who have put many hours of hard work into a special cake creation will be able to reap the rewards just like those who raise a 4-H animal.
Eleven 4-H youth enrolled in the cake decorating project by the March 1 deadline and have been learning and practicing the skills it takes to produce beautiful cakes. This project has rigorous requirements which include completing ten activities, learning ten new skills, completing a 16-20 page portfolio about their project, making an oral presentation to their club and exhibiting at the fair. On Monday of the fair, level one 4-H students must present a single-layer cake that they baked (no cake forms here!) decorated using 2-3 skills they learned during the course of the project. They will meet with a judge who will interview them about their experience, review their portfolio and evaluate their cakes. Along with their cake, youth will bring an 8X10 color photo of their cake to display the week of the fair. In order to keep them fresh for the sale, the real cakes will not be able to sit out for the fair-goers to see. Rules for the decorated cake auction can be found on page 24 of the Washington County Fairbook.
Some of our 4-H youth are learning their cake decorating skills in their clubs, or with family or friends. Several of our 4-H youth have gathered at Weiser Classic Candy for three Friday afternoons to work with our 4-H Program Assistant, Ronnell Chavarria and WCC staff, including Keith Bryant and Mary Wall, to learn and practice their skills. We have also had several parents and grandparents pitch in at these project meetings. We would like to express our thanks to all of these people and the unnamed families that must surely be helping to clean up all of that practice frosting!
Cake decorating projects teach so much more than just making pretty cakes. Youth learn life skills that they can apply in many areas of their lives. Not every kid in Washington County has the resources to raise an animal like a pig or a steer, but many youth can benefit by the life skills learned by participating in 4-H and FFA. In the cake decorating project, youth will surely learn to manipulate frosting, but they will also get an opportunity to develop skills in areas such as public speaking, record keeping, project planning, safe food handling practices and much more. We hope that this auction can be a fun and rewarding end to their project as well as an exciting event for our community.