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County fair 'serving up fun' in 2014

Susan Sommers has a long history with the Clackamas County Fair, but this year marks the first time she has been selected as the winner of the annual theme competition.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Summer Schiess, left, and Tessa Irwin, display the blue ribbon given to them by Susan Sommers; the award was won by their grandmother for her peach pie.The Oak Grove resident was recently told that “We’re Serving Up Fun!” had been selected as the theme for the 2014 fair. For the past 10 years, she has been the superintendent of the Kitchen Cupboard, overseeing all the cooking competitions and other food entries, so her entry in the theme contest “just seemed to fit,” she said.

Sommers has entered items in the fair for about 15 years, in all the major categories except livestock, she said. Her children have been involved with the fair, and now her grandchildren are as well.

“I enjoy the family atmosphere of the fair. It has a country feel to it. People gravitate to it, and it is something to do and appreciate,” Sommers said.

And there are moments that make her job as superintendent really come alive.

“There was a woman who came in and was looking for her food entry and couldn’t find it. When she told me what she entered, I took her over to the special section for best in show, and there was her pie. She came back all day long, to show her friends and have her picture taken.”

Sommers added, “It is things like that that make all the time and effort worth it, and the little kids in the competitions get so excited.”

Although it may seem early to be looking ahead to August, there are few months of the year when Sommers is not doing something to get ready for the fair.

“I am always looking for sponsors, looking for trends and new categories to keep things fresh,” she said. She keeps track of the items people enter, with an eye to taking out categories and putting in new ones.

Some people donate money that goes to providing special ribbons, while others sponsor contests, like Contain Your Cookie and Dutch Oven Cooking.

Right now Sommers is specifically looking for somebody to sponsor the beer and wine competitions that will be newly integrated into the Kitchen Cupboard.

Sommers said she doesn’t drink, so she really needs a hand to set up the criteria for entries and judging in these two areas.

To contact Susan Sommers, superintendent of the Kitchen Cupboard at the Clackamas County Fair, visit clackamas.us/fair, click on Exhibition Handbook, scroll down and click on Division S, Kitchen Cupboard.



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