Originally created 03/19/00

Area residents enjoy "Cookin' for kids"



Four-year-old Ashlynn Putnam brushed the blond curls out of her eyes and looked at the pen that was holding a llama, pony, sheep, lamb and other animals.

"I like that animal," Ashlynn said, pointing to the brown pony. "And I like the sheep because he has furry hair."

Ashlynn and her family were at the 11th annual Cookin' for Kids on Saturday at the Augusta Exchange Club Fairgrounds.

An estimated 4,000 people put on their jackets and attended the fair for rides, entertainment and of course, the cook-off. There were four categories in the cook-off in which teams could compete: small game (quail, squirrel, duck), big game (deer, antelope, buffalo), fish and an overall category.

Trophies and prize money were awarded to the top three winners in each category. Mike Taylor, one of the judges in Saturday's competition, said he looks for flavor, texture and aroma in his decisions.

"It's always exciting to wake up on Saturday and not know what you're going to be eating," Mr. Taylor said. "You could have duck, rabbit, quail or sandhill crane."

The Big Hats group took home the first-place prize in all four categories.

One of the most popular rides was the Psycho Swing. Jarren Thomas, 14, of Augusta dared to get onto the ride, which seemed to have more spectators than willing riders.

"It's the coolest thing here," Jarren said. His mother had a different opinion. "If I went up there, I would have thrown up," Mrs. Thomas said.

Proceeds from the fair went to help the Shelter & Advocacy Center for Abused Children. According to Lisa Gerardot, executive director of the center, the fair geared its events toward older children this year. Events such as the Psycho Swing, Gyro and a rock-climbing wall were brought in for the fair.

Reach Barnini Chakraborty at (706) 823-3332.