MACKEYVILLE - It's a tough job, but...
Judges Tom Ludwig, Mary Ann Haagen and Jodie Miller had the enviable task of deciding on the tastiest, smoothest, creamiest and most luscious chocolate cakes; chocolate cookies, brownies and bars; angel food cake; and apple pies Monday during the 40th Annual Clinton County Fair.
While each took each plate and inspected the entries over carefully, each had their own styles of judging who was the best in their respective fields.
"I look for taste, texture, and if the cake falls apart or holds together," said Ludwig, owner of the Dutch Haven Restaurant in Lock Haven, while sampling the chocolate cakes on the table in front of him.
Ludwig has been judging the cakes, and chocolate cookies, brownies and bars for the last two or three years. This year, the competition was sponsored by Pennsylvania Preferred.
"I look for the creativity of the crust, the consistency of the apples, the consistency of the flavors of the spices and the apples, if the bottom crust is done, and the flutes on the side, if they are basic or creative," said Miller, who has been judging apple pies for the last half-decade.
Haagen said she has been judging foods for several years at the fair, but this was her first year judging angel food cake.
"You look at their moisture, their texture and lightness, their flavor and the overall appearance, some are really different," she said.
In the end, Nichole Bechdel of Mill Hall took home the Pennsylvania Preferred Chocolate Cake Contest. Amber Morris of Loganton was second and Mildred Kinley of Lock Haven was third.
In the Pennsylvania Preferred Chocolate Cookies, Brownies and Bars Contest, all entered brownies, with Shawn McCombs of Mill Hall coming in first, Brittany Walters of Jersey Shore second and Jozelyn Charles of Jersey Shore third.
For the Angel Food Cake Contest, Candice Conway of Loganton was the champion. Erica Haas of Lock Haven came in second and Nichole Bechdol of Mill Hall was third.
In the Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Contest, Erica Haas of Lock Haven won the championship, with Amber Morris of Loganton coming in second and Mildred Kinley of Lock Haven was third.
All the tasty concontions were auctioned off in the fair's Open Show Exhibit Building Monday evening.