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Food finds ‘new look’

Correspondent photo / Sean Barron Alexis Kotheimer, 11, of Poland, looks at a s’mores smorgasbord she created, and for which she won first place in the junior division of Friday’s Strut Your Stuff competition at the 176th Canfield Fair, which runs through Monday.

CANFIELD — Alexis Kotheimer had on a wooden board the usual s’mores fare: marshmallows, chocolate chunks, graham crackers, cookie samples and a small plaque with a Norman Rockwell-style saying.

Nevertheless, her stuffed s’mores smorgasbord contained another complementary item: a blue first-place ribbon.

“Me and my mom thought that (the idea) looked so good, and that’s why we decided to try it out, and it’s delicious,” Alexis, 11, of Poland, said. “I saw this and said, ‘This is so cute.'”

Besides the popular dessert that’s often created over a campfire, Alexis basked in the warmth of having received first place in the junior division for those age 12 and under of a Strut Your Stuff exhibit and competition Friday at the 176th annual Canfield Fair.

The exhibit began 26 years ago, and this year’s theme was Strut Your Stuff, which required exhibitors to enter creatively prepared stuffed food items, Penny Less, a volunteer, explained. Samples included buffalo chicken stuffed peppers, Sicilian rice balls, vegetarian Italian Cubanelle peppers and a large Ukrainian beet leaf roll with bread that was stuffed with dill sauce for dipping, Less said.

The entries were judged mainly on creativity, presentation, taste and originality, she added.

For her part, Alexis assembled her entry — which also included a small dome and light to resemble a fire — with a little guidance from her mother, Kristen Kotheimer, who “helped it come to fruition,” she said. Even the plaque with the saying had some of Alexis’ touches, because she added a drawing of a smiling cookie with stick-figure arms and legs.

“I said to her, ‘Do you want to do all this work?” and she said, ‘Yes, I’m confident to do this,'” Alexis’ mother continued.

When she’s not including creativity as a primary ingredient for making combinations of s’mores, Alexis, who’s also part of Poland-based Girl Scout Troop 80200, might be found stuffing other things, such as bags for a charitable purpose.

“I’m so proud of her,” Kristen said, adding that her daughter recently donated 48 bags of items to give to children whose parents are in the military and have been deployed.

Alexis’ father, Master Sgt. Christian Kotheimer, is serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Taking home a first-place ribbon in the Strut Your Stuff’s adult division was Ginny Perkins of Columbiana, whose winning entry was egg salad in a carrot-shaped croissant.

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