...is also a hot seat, at least in this kind of weather. Into the 90s again today, with high humidity and little breeze. Today was the day I promised to judge knit and crochet pieces for the county fair, so off to the fairgrounds at 9 am. Mary, the supervisor, was waiting for me and knew who I was even though we'd never met in person before. Easy, I was the only male judge in her division, Home Economics.
We started with the crochet work, and the only hard judgement call I had was to rank six crocheted afghans. Managed that and wrote suggestions to all the creators. Plowed ahead through several smaller categories, then had to pick best in show for crochet. It went to the best afghan, which was really a nice piece of work.
Meanwhile other judges and volunteer helpers were going through the sewing and quilting, the junior show entries (kids under 16), and various other categories such as woodworking and ceramics. Mary exchanged jokes with one of the judges about how it was "granny abuse" that they were making her work in this heat. Little did we know...
I went ahead to look at knitted items, made my choices, wrote my brief comments, and picked a pair of handspun and handknit mittens for best in show. When the name was uncovered I found they were made by a friend from my guilds, so I'm glad they keep names covered until the results are in. That way I can't be accused of favoritism.
At about this point we realized that the other elderly lady judge was sitting on a crate in the middle of the building with her head down and panting. Everyone rushed to put ice on her forehead and neck and help her to a chair in the breeze from the door. Someone ran to the admin building to ask for a paramedic, who was already on hand and appeared within just a few minutes. The temperature was about 95F I'd say, but the air was pretty still. She was feeling better and able to talk by the time an ambulance arrived and they wheeled her out. That left some of her categories still unjudged, so I agreed to help out. I stayed to look through several small groups of needlecraft done by the kids, and to help with paperwork. Many categories had only a single entry, and we just gave them the ribbon by default.
Just before I was ready to leave, at about noon, the lady who nearly collapsed returned with her husband just to show us that she was OK and was going home. She managed to talk the paramedics into letting her go without dragging her to the hospital, which I can say from experience is not an easy thing to do. All the sewing and assorted handicrafts were done when I left, and needed only to be arranged in displays. Volunteers do that. The topic of discussion was the food exhibits, which will start arriving at 3 pm. You know, cakes and pies and cookies, that sort of thing? With the temperature approaching 100F? Everyone agreed that they were NOT going to taste any custard pies and risk getting sick from them in the heat. Mary laughed and told them that there were no dairy products in any category.
Oh, one other amusing thing. In the middle of the morning, an announcement came on the fairgrounds loudspeakers, to the whole grounds, with my name and town, asking me to move my car. I had parked in the nearly empty lot that used to be parking for the fair, but with the rearrangement of the fairgrounds that is now the midway and I was obstructing the setup of some ride or other. I had to run out and move it. They must have had the police get my name from the license plate number.
So that was the experience of judging at the county fair: hot, but otherwise not too difficult.