CRUMPLER—For Judy Calloway, competing at the Dixie Classic Fair is not just about the ribbons —it’s about keeping family traditions alive.
Calloway, who lives in Crumpler, grew up learning all the important elements of baking and canning from her mother and grandmother. But she only decided to put her own skills to the test at the Dixie Classic Fair four years ago.
The idea came to Calloway when she visited her father-in-law at the fair after he had won a first place ribbon for a painting he had entered.
“We walked through and saw what everyone else was entering and I thought, ‘I can do this,’” Calloway said.
Since then, Calloway has won ribbons in a variety of categories including baking, canning, container grown plants and cut plants. Back in early October, Calloway was awarded 47 ribbons —pushing her total ribbon count over 100.
In her first year, Calloway entered with just two items, pickled green tomatoes and watermelon rinds, and won first and second place ribbons. The next year she won 21 total ribbons and an additional 31 the following year.
Calloway said that while she doesn’t have a favorite category, her strongest is canning. She’s entered 24 prize-winning creations in that category this year alone.
She received recognition for her canned yellow tomatoes, sweet potatoes, apple juice, tomato juice, blackberries, plums, fruit relish and chili sauce — just to name a few. Calloway also won second place for her corn bread, first place for her Dragon Wing Bagonia and Berber Daisy in other categories.
Planning for each competition starts early for Calloway, and she’s already plotting next year’s moves.
“I try to do better every year,” Calloway said. “I take a lot of pride in what I do.”
According to Calloway, each year the Dixie Classic Fair will release a book highlighting new competition categories, giving her the opportunity to brainstorm new ideas.
“I start at the first of the year and plan out what I’m going to enter,” Calloway said. “Every year I try to do something different.”
This year Calloway is planning to make a quilt and a purse to enter into categories she hasn’t competed in.
Through all of her hard work, Calloway hopes that she can pass down her own skills and experiences just like her mother and grandmother before her.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done and I hope to pass it down and keep the tradition going,” Calloway said.
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.