Like many Adams County residents, Christine Cook took time Monday to bring to the Adams County Fairgrounds projects she completed recently.

The rural Hastings woman brought in flowers, succulents and cacti as well as a refinished chair as her Open Class entries at Adams County Fairfest.

“I’m retired, so for me it’s fun,” said the former social worker for Catholic Social Services. “It’s just fun to bring stuff in and show it off.”

She’s brought in Open Class entries off and on for years.

“Even our kids, when they were in 4-H I brought stuff for Open Class,” she said.

Her multi-colored wooden chair is an accent piece for her deck, which matches the teal cushions she has for furniture there.

“I thought it was just such an interesting chair because of the way it’s made,” she said. “It was the only one at the thrift store, so I thought it needed saved.”

The chair is on display at the fairgrounds’ activities building with a “before” photo.

“That’s what it started out as, pretty ugly,” Cook said.

The Monday following the Fairfest parade is known as Open Class Entry Day — when from noon to 8 p.m., residents in Adams County at least 5 years old bring in entries to participate within the hundreds of specified categories.

The exhibits will be judged Tuesday and released July 22. The fair begins Wednesday and continues through Sunday.

“I am never disappointed,” Open Class Superintendent Robin Stroot said. “I am always surprised at the creativity, just the ideas, and I get ideas and I look at it and think ‘Wow, how did they do that?’ ”

With no preregistration, the area superintendents have no idea what to expect when they show up to entry day.

“For us it’s like a treasure hunt sometimes,” Stroot said. “We see things that are unique. We’ve had so many unique things through the years.”

That creativity is on display in the baking category where superintendent Phyllis O’Dey saw entries Monday that incorporated lace made of sugar, as well as pineapple muffins and zucchini snickerdoodle bread.

“Some really unusual recipes have come in,” she said. “We’re strong on cakes and breads this year.”

With about three hours left to go in entry day, O’Dey said she actually had not received as many cookies as in past years.

A few baking categories were removed from the offerings this year, including lard biscuits and date cake.

“I marked off things we haven’t received in the last 10 years,” O’Dey said.

As she spoke Monday afternoon, Stroot was making iced tea to accompany the meal she would serve later to all of the volunteers who help with Open Class Entry Day.

“I was handed a well-oiled machine from Joyce Harrenstein, who was the original superintendent,” Stroot said.

Adams County Open Class is held in high regard across the state, Stroot said.

“I couldn’t do this without the volunteers,” she said. “They’re an amazing group of people. It makes Adams County’s Open Class really special. We have been known to be one of the best counties in the state for Open Class.”

Representatives from other county fairs have visited Fairfest to see the Open Class displays.

“It’s a compliment to the people of Adams County to share their talents and bring their items in,” Stroot said.


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