Exhibitors check in to arts/crafts competitions at West Texas Fair and Rodeo

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Blue-ribbon dreams abound inside the Round Building at the Taylor County Expo Center as hobbyists of all trades enter friendly competitions to be crowned the county’s best in their respective categories.

16-year-old Zachary Early of Abilene is entering the Youth Photography competition for a second year in a row. This time around he hopes to snap a win for pictures captured on a backpacking trip.

“I took a trip to New Mexico and got a lot of really good pictures, so I thought it’d be fun to enter them. Maybe I could win,” said Early.

From horticulturists to woodworkers, the categories of competition are varied. Alongside the arts up for judges’ consideration will be daily cooking demonstrations inside the Round Building.

Chef Darlene Walton is taking her place at the kitchenette for an 11th year in a row at the fair. She says after a turbulent year for all, she’s excited to share her love of cooking with West Texans once again.

“That was my goal, was to get back here and I knew I could do it, and I’m here,” exclaimed Walton.

Competing for visitor attention against fast rides and ferris wheels, it’s not hard to see how the talent inside the exhibit hall could be overshadowed, says Early.

“I do think people miss this – you really have to look into it,” said Early.

However, for all those that do stop by – they’re likely to receive the warmest of welcomes.

“We’re ready for you,” says Walton.

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