After carefully looking over 4-H'er Mady Jaeschke's tray of fudge filled chocolate bars at the Webster County Fair Tuesday morning, Open Class Judge Mary Schroeder was able to tell her something that brought a smile to both of their faces.
"I have a blue ribbon for you young lady," Schroeder said.
For Schroeder, helping judge the various foods - such as fudge filled chocolate bars - is more about helping the young 4-H chefs and bakers than anything else.
Cara Samuelson, 11, of Manson, a member of the Johnson Jaguars 4-H Club, can barely see over the top of her sewing project, a large pillow, that she made to enter in the Webster County Fair.
"I like to talk the them and share ideas," she said.
Some of them are a little nervous.
"I try to use a little humor and introduce myself to them," Schroeder said.
While Jaeschke said she was well at ease, she said that she appreciated the feedback and will follow Schroeder's tips to improve her bars. After all, there is next year and a new goal, making it to the State Fair.
Diane Bacon was busy Tuesday morning helping to judge art exhibits. Like Schroeder, it's much less about judging and much more about teaching.
"We just sit and visit and talk," Bacon said. "It's supposed to be a learning project for both of us to share."
Brooklin Border, 10, of Fort Dodge, is a member of the Douglas Dreamers 4-H Club, when she was done talking with Bacon about a painting, she was left standing with an armload of drawings, paintings and several ceramic pieces perilously sitting on top.
There were seven entries for Border.
"I love art," she said.
A veteran, she said she had done been through the judging process before and that nerves - were not an issue.
Keeping track of all of it however.
"It's a busy day," Border said. "I try to make sure I have all of them and don't forget any."
Cara Samuelson, 11, of Manson, a member of the Johnson Jaguars 4-H Club, had an internal mantra going before taking her large handmade pillow up to be judged.
"Be positive, positive, positive," she said.
The full-sized pillow was covered with a pink-heart-patterned fabric. While she had yet to spend and entire night in repose on her work, she did say that it had in fact been tested - just for a shorter time interval.
"I laid on it," she said.
Many of those entering items in the open judging categories have family members and friends standing by for support and to see how they do.
Lane Fevold, 11, of Gowrie, a member of the Gowrie Groundbreakers 4-H Club, had his mom Heather and his sister Micaela, 14. They also helped hold his project, a John Deere green set of shelves.
"We just wanted to see what they say," Heather Fevold said. "He did it all on his own."
Well, almost, he did get supervision with the power tools.
Fevold has plans for after the fair. His shelf will reside in one corner of his room where it will become a parking space for his collection of farm toys, all of which are also John Deere green.
"I would be fun to make something," Lane Fevold said.
The Webster County Fair continues today with a variety of events scheduled through the day.