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Linda Kellett - Fort Plain resident Cory White and his girlfriend’s niece, Jayde Teneyck, 4, of Nelliston, await the judges’ decision in the 4-year-old girls’ division of the Fonda Fair Baby Contest Saturday.

Linda Kellett - Caren Stowell Murphy, 4, of Canajoharie, gives a shy wave.

Linda Kellett - Brenna Bollin, 7, of Johnstown, gives her 3-year-old sister, Amara, a hug following her first-place finish in the 3-year-old girls’ competition.

Linda Kellett - Contestants in the 4-year-old girls’ division of the Fonda Fair Baby Contest await the judges’ decision.

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Pictures (and more) at an exhibition

Thursday, September 06, 2012 - Updated: 9:03 AM

By LINDA KELLETT

C-S-E News Staff

FONDA — As customary, exhibitors at this year’s Fonda Fair entered a whole gamut of competitions. If you could name it, there was probably a category for it: This year’s agricultural exhibition featured displays of antiques, baked goods, canned goods, crafts, flower arrangements, photographs, sewing projects, vegetables and more.

The proud parents of some infants and toddlers even showed off their children.

Jackie Lape, of Canajoharie, the director of the Fonda Fair Baby Contest, said she thinks parents enter their children in the annual baby competition because it’s a good self-esteem booster for the children.

“[The children] are proud of themselves,” she said. “It’s fun.”

Lape continued, “We try to dwell on the positive. We want everyone to feel good about themselves whether they’re a winner or not,” she said, noting that “just getting up there” in front of an audience is a laudable feat.

During the three- and four-year-olds’ competition on Saturday, youngsters could cross the stage by themselves or accompanied by an adult family member or friend. Some were bold and outgoing: smiling, waving, or turning around without prompting. Others were reticent and needed a little encouragement.

Junior Miss Fonda Fair Linda Conti, of Fultonville, said some of the youngsters had stage fright. “You could tell. They were holding onto their parents; or they’d look at their parents and not the judges.”

Her advice to the youngsters was to “be yourself. Try to be independent. I know they’re three [years old], but they can smile and wave and go on stage by themselves.”

Ericka Nurnberger, of Fort Plain, whose 4-year-old daughter, Makena, won third place in the 4-year-old girls’ division, said she decided the night before the contest to enter her daughter in the competition.

Ericka said she coached Makena, who wore a new dress, to smile.

Katie Jepsen, of Gloversville said her daughter, Chloe, 4, loves to dance and will be starting gymnastics this year. While the youngster, who also had a new dress, didn’t place, she had a winning smile for the judges.

Lape said the baby contest is “all about making [the children] feel good about themselves and doing their best,” she said.

This year’s first-place winners received a Beech-Nut teddy bear and a trophy, but all participants, regardless of placings, took home a ribbon and a certificate.

Fort Plain resident Cory White, who was at the three- and four-year-old competitions on Saturday, said he was there to watch. His girlfriend’s niece, Jayde Teneyck, of Nelliston, had other ideas, however.

He said, “She just wouldn’t have anyone else go up on the stage with her. She’s not a real crowd person.”

A competitor from prior years, Jayde was more excited before she got to the contest, White said.

Although she won neither bear nor trophy, Jayde left the grounds on a happy note. White said after the competition, “we went on a bunch of rides and walked around. She was excited to have it over, and she was happy to get a ribbon.”

St. Johnsville resident Bob Harvey, the superintendent of the Arts and Crafts Building at the fair, said entrants there were focusing on matching the ideal.

For example, when entering a photograph, the exhibitor needed to present an image that was clean and in focus. If it was matted and framed, the mat and frame should have gone with the picture. Did they match the background?

In the realm of crafts, the judges were looking for things that were unique and different. If an entry was from a kit, was it made well?

Sewing projects were judged on things like hems, seams and stitching, for example. If a project involved a striped pattern, did the stripes line up?

And with cooking, he said, “It’s all a matter of, is it what it’s supposed to be? Are they fresh? Do they look fresh? Does it taste over-cooked, under-cooked, burned?”

Criteria like those help judges determine the winners.

Linda Kellett - St. Johnsville resident Bob Harvey, superintendent of the Arts and Crafts Building at the Fonda Fair, separates threads into sheds for a blanket that he’s weaving.

     

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