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Judging starts ahead of official Dodge County Fair kick-off

August 15, 2018 GMT

The rides and fryers weren’t running, but the cows and Mario Lego sculptures were on display Tuesday.

Youth participating in Junior Fair judging began setting up at the Dodge County Fairgrounds Tuesday in advance of the fair’s official start on Wednesday. Judging was already underway in the Youth Building for elaborate farm scene projects, with several different age groups and experience levels represented.

“It’s easier to judge the scene if they can talk to the judge while that’s happening,” said Marie Witzel, the youth development educator for 4-H.

Some food entries already have been judged as well before they spoil. Darin Curtis from Columbia County was judging farm projects on a humid Tuesday afternoon, his first time judging at the Dodge County Fair. He is in his fifth year as a judge and just has one more fair to go this season, in Waushara County, for a total of eight fairs for the summer.

Curtis said he was looking for how realistic the farm scenes are and how much creativity and action they demonstrate. Having the different objects at the right proportion and hand-built are a huge plus.

“It’s a project you can’t do yesterday,” he said. “It’s months in the making.”

One major component Curtis looks for in realism are power lines, as all farms have power lines running to them (unless it’s an Amish farm, pointed out Brian Lerwick, the junior fair superintendent).

Casey Salmi’s farm, which Curtis was judging on Tuesday, had power lines. Casey, 11, is from Reeseville and is part of the Lakeside 4-H.

While that was going on, other children were streaming into the Youth Building to set up their vegetables, crafts and more for the coming days of judging. One boy walked past Casey holding a farm display base and a painting of a colorful bird. Paige Lester, going into sixth grade in Waterloo, was setting up a Ferris wheel sculpture.

Organizers were excited about the cake entries this year, which included one modeled after a bag of Sour Patch Kids. A craft entry of interest was a game inside a water bottle where one squeezes hard into the plastic to make a Lego diver travel down and try to hook into a loop at the bottom.

For fair galleries and schedules, go to wiscnews.com/bdc.