It was a slow start in that morning waiting for entries. Once they started rolling in, a little panic set in. A total of 21 contestants brought a variety of amazing creations to the Elks for the third annual "It's All Berry Good" Recipe Contest during Coos Bay Downtown Association's Blackberry Arts Festival. This was my first recipe rodeo and while I can't claim a full 10-second ride, it went okay.

The Elks were serving their annual fundraiser breakfast from 8-10:30 a.m. that included a waffle, scrambled eggs and a slab of ham, coffee and juice all for $5. Thankfully I fueled up because things started happening all at once. It's the one time of the year the club is open to the public, so the contest tied in perfectly.

I didn't vote, it wouldn't have been fair; I knew what all the prizes were and I knew some of the entrants. I tasted though and OMG! I had no idea nectarines and blackberries went so well together. There was a cookie-like pie crust that was spectacular, a lemon infused cheesecake, and gooey yummy blackberry cobbler rendered down in a cast iron skillet. 

How the heck can you judge over-the-top professional entries like Darrel's Devil Food, Sasquatch Creamery, Wildflour Cafe & Catering and others against the tried and true cobblers, cheesecakes and pies? Well the answer is categories.

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Sunday's time slot cut out some of the folks who attend Sunday services—so time change. 

After seeing how this all went down, there definitely needs to be an opportunity for the public to sample what the judges didn't devour. Next year's tastes will be offered for a small donation. I mean why not?

All in all, I was thrilled at the level of participation. Big and many thanks to everyone who participated. I hope to see you back next year. 

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