Budding artists make use of nature’s bounty | VailDaily.com

Budding artists make use of nature’s bounty

Tamara Miller
Shane Macomber/smacomber@vaildaily.com A very satisfied Sarah Bakker, 9, finishes her beetle made from vegetables Friday during the vegetable sculpting contest at the Eagle County Fair.

Cody Bakken narrows his eyes before he stabs the blade into the cucumber.Chunks of moist green drop onto the table and the air is scented with the fresh, earthy smell of cut vegetables. While children seated near him chat and laugh at their own creations, Bakken remains focused. The cucumber begins to take shape.Vegetable sculpting may not be the most high-profile event at the Eagle County Fair, but it may be one of the most fun.For Emily Schlegel, 14, Friday night’s veggie sculpting contest was a welcome break.”I’ve been in the steer barn all day,” she said. Each participant was provided with a stack of vegetables and fruits, a knife, some wooden skewers and toothpicks. Entries were judged on creativity. Assistance from others was not discouraged. Adie and Haylie Lengel got a little help from their parents on their designs. Adie, 3, told her mother, Edie, that she wanted to make a snowman.So the two stacked a couple of peaches on top of each other and shoved a skewer through the middle to connect them. Carrot slices served as buttons and raspberries as the “snowman’s” eyes.

Haylie, 8, and dad, Jon, worked on a larger scale. A cantaloupe served as the body and a bunch of cauliflower worked as the head – or the hair. Clearly, Haylie’s creation was an abstract piece.Glenda Wentworth, who works in the county’s Colorado State University extension office, said most kids make animals or people out of their sculptures. One boy started to make a sailboat, using a few leaves of romaine lettuce as the sails but then changed his mind.City Market donated the produce, but participants weren’t encouraged to eat it. Most of the fruits and vegetables were given away because they were a few days old, Wentworth said. Creative vision didn’t come automatically to Schlegel. “I think I’ll wing it,” she said. But Ben Morris, 16, seemed to know exactly what he wanted to do. He shoved a radish into the end of a cucumber, then used the edge of a knife to carve out some eyes. Carrot ends served as arms. Bakken participates in several fair events, but this year was the first time he ever entered the veggie sculpting contest. The lack of experience didn’t seem to affect him, though. He took first place in his age division.”I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time but I’ve never had the time,” he said. Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or tmiller@vaildaily.com.=======================================================

THE WINNERS• 3 to 6 years old1st: Sheila Delgado2nd: Adie Lengel• 7 to 10 years old1st: Colton Erickson2nd: Haylie Lengel3rd: Norma Delgado• 11 to 14 years old

1st: Cody Bakken2nd: Jamie Bair3rd: Emily Schlegel• 15 to 18 years old1st: Katie Jean Ewing2nd: Summer Forsyth3rd: Ben Morris=======================================================

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