VALLEJO — Grace Meggs had a tough choice to make.
She had 10 chocolate mint cupcakes but only needed to leave six for the judges to taste at the Solano County Fair.
The Travis Elementary School fifth-grader looked closely and made her selection, placing six on a silver tray. The remainder were put on a paper plate to be shared with fair employees working on Sunday.
“I love mint,” the 10-year-old said. She found the recipe online and “made a ton” at home, many of them shared with neighbors.
The secret ingredient was coffee.
“It makes them so yummy, so good to eat,” Grace said.
A neighbor encouraged her to enter the fair. Grace took the suggestion to heart as she also submitted sketching drawings in the competition – one of a horse, the other of flowers.
“We do our own baking at home,” said her mother, Elisa Meggs. “We had a lot of fun making these.”
Sam Forbes thinks along the same lines. She likes caramel and apples and baked the two together in a caramel apple pie for the fair.
The 11-year-old Suisun Valley 4-H member also found her recipe online. This is the third year she’s entered in the fair. Sam said she earned a best of show last year for her pepper jelly. The first year her guinea pig won a showmanship award.
In addition to the pie, she had already submitted some photographs and two collections for judging.
There’s still more to come. Sam’s herb garden and guinea pig were due to arrive Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
“The fair is a wonderful opportunity,” said her mother, Barbara Forbes. “It’s a good thing for the kids.”
Judging is early Monday morning.
Wolskill 4-H members Riley Currey, 14, and Tyler Scott, 13, were putting the final touches on some animal pens Sunday afternoon. Their gold shovels were placed against one wall of the metal enclosure.
“We painted them so we know which ones are ours,” Riley said of the special coloring.
They will bring their animals Monday and Tuesday.
Tyler is approaching this year’s fair with a little trepidation.
“I name all my chickens ‘Miss Chicken,’ ” he said before explaining that “Miss Chicken 1.0” died from being too cold. “Miss Chicken 2.0” died after the Dixon May Fair, on a hot day.
“I’m on ‘Miss Chicken 3.0,’ ” he said. “Next year, I’ll have ‘Miss Chicken 5.0.’ ”
“You can tell them you have a 4.0,” Riley said in jest.
Earlier Sunday, Riley dropped off his baked goods for the competition, including a reduced-calorie cake and piña colada bread.
“I’m not in the art of baking,” Tyler said.
However, he did enter a refurbished magazine rack and his monster truck collection.
The 2013 Solano County Fair opens Wednesday and runs through Sunday. The theme is “Home Grown Fun.” Details can be found at www.scfair.com.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.