A local grandmother and her 12-year-old granddaughter were the winningest team at the 2019 Western Kentucky State Fair.
Faye Cornelius and Ella Cornelius walked away Friday with 94 blue ribbons, six purple ribbons, 41 red ribbons and 12 white ribbons, making the duo the overall champions of the open division competition and setting a new record for the event.
Categories included canning, flower arrangement, foods, garden display, home furnishings, marketable skills and photography. Faye and Ella were named grand champion in all except two categories, photography and marketable skills.
In canning, the two entered a variety of jams, jellies and pickled treats, but it was the apple jelly that snagged them grand champion in that division.
For the garden display, they entered everything that was ready in the garden on Faye's farm in Crofton — green beans, squash (zucchini and yellow), pears, blackberries (wild and tame), strawberries, potatoes, three types of cucumbers (pickling, slicing and burpless), green onions and white onions, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, three ears of sweet corn, radishes, bell peppers, banana peppers and the list goes on.
"We also entered the biggest potato and the biggest cucumber," Faye noted.
Ella said it was fun working on the projects with her grandmother. Her favorite creation was a stuffed animal set with a chicken and baby chickens that they entered in the marketable skills category. Ella took the set home as a keepsake of her last year entering the contest with her grandmother.
"Ella usually does the stuffing on things like that," Faye said. "We named her Betty. It was so cute."
Faye, a longtime homemaker, said she starts preparing for the open division right after the fair ends each year.
"We start canning as soon as the fair is over," the grandmother of four said. "I've already started for next year."
She noted that this was Ella's last year, but her 10-year-old grandson is ready to step in.
"We start and we work when we have a free day when one of the kids are out of school," she said. "I'll get it started, they'll sew a seam or two, and I usually finish everything. ... They get to come here and spend time with us. We do so many fun things together. When we cook, we get to make samples and they get to taste it. We laugh and it's a fun time."
Aside from spending time with her grandchildren, Faye said the open division competition is a way to past down keepsakes and homemaking knowledge from generation to generation.
"I feel sad that people miss it," she said. "It's a really fun time that you share with your grandchild. You teach and you share, and they learn things that maybe they wouldn't learn otherwise."
Reach Zirconia Alleyne at 270-887-3243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grand champion in each division
Canning: Faye and Ella Cornelius
Flower arrangement: Single stem - Faye and Ella Cornelius
Foods: Faye and Ella Cornelius
Garden display: Faye and Ella Cornelius
Home furnishings: Faye and Ella Cornelius
Marketable skills: Nancy Irvine
Photography: Lesa Farmer