Homewood residents earn accolades at Illinois State Fair

  Cooper Dague of
  Homewood took honors
  at the Illinois State Fair
  for his photograph of
  a child looking out
  a window at the
  Homewood Science
(Provided photos)

Springfield is a long way from Homewood, but that didn’t stop a repeat award-winning baker and two newbies from throwing their hats in the ring for some of the competitions being judged at the Illinois State Fair in August.

Cooper Dague was in his senior year at Homewood-Flossmoor High School when he decided to enter a photo into a contest at the fair. 

“My mom was driving down to Springfield to take her pie entries, so I thought, ‘Why not?’” he said. 

Technically, he’s not a newbie to the fair. He did enter a cookie in a baking contest last year, but didn’t win. He is a newbie when it comes to bringing home a ribbon. The black and white image of a boy at a window won him the first place blue ribbon in the youth photography competition. It was his first time entering a photo competition outside of school.

  Paige Dague shows her
  Easy Beezy Buzzworthy Pie.


Cooper honed his skills during Photography I class  at H-F with teacher Candi Helsel-Wilk. 

Last school year one of his photos was published in “Etta,” H-F’s literary and arts magazine, and another earned him “best in category” at the National Art Honor Society art show.

Cooper’s mother, Paige Dague, has had a good run at the fair as a baker. She had baked her first pie in 2011, but proved to be a strong competitor. Her first time participating in the Blue Ribbon Culinary Bake-Off was in 2014. After the live, timed baking competition, where she baked a cherry pie on stage in front of an audience, Dague won the first-place blue ribbon. 

Apparently, in her case, lightning does strike twice. In 2015, she entered the bake-off a second time winning first place with her blueberry pie.

  Amy Crump poses with 
  a display at the state 
  fair showing the trophy 
  plate, ribbon and 
  rosette she won for 
  her Dixie Doodle cookes.


In 2016, Dague opted for a more laid-back competition category that allowed her to bake at home. She entered three pies and came home a winner. She earned first place for her brown sugar pie and mango pie, and second place for a chocolate pretzel pie. 

This year she had four entries and earned four ribbons. The Easy Beezy Buzzworthy Pie and Pumpkin Patch Pie won second place ribbons. She also won ribbons for champagne jelly and for gluten free snacks.

Amy Crump had never even experienced a state fair, but with encouragement from Dague, she  decided to enter her Dixie Doodle Cookie.  She made her cookies in the bake-at-home category. 

Crump’s first-time entry won three first-place honors: first in the filled cookie category,  first in the overall cookie category and first for the combined cookie/pastry category. 
Crump was up against some fierce competition. The filled cookie category had 7 entries, the overall cookie category had 143 entries and in the cookie/pastry category she beat out 168 contestants.

Next year Crump plans to compete at the fair again, but perhaps in the bread category.


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A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.


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