The San Miguel Basin Fair may be mostly canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions placed on large gatherings, but Katie Alexander has figured out a way to still have the community’s beloved dessert contest.

An annual tradition dating back to the 1960s or earlier, the dessert contest in its current format has been happening since the 1990s. Now, with county approval, Alexander has an alternative way of holding the event.

“There will be no public tasting or awards, but we’ll still have a competition,” she said. “I’ve got to figure out how to get awards to people. We may have to call them individually and say ‘Your award is hanging on the fence, drive by and pick it up.’”

To simplify the process, she’s calling for cookies or ice creams only. She’s having the judging in her yard, since she knows using the school is off limits and a bad idea anyway.

“We’re going to take entries here at my house,” she said. “You drive up, and we take the entry from you.”

Alexander said judges will be wearing gloves and masks. Drivers don’t need to leave their vehicles to submit their entries.

At least a dozen cookies are needed for submissions. Ice creams can be submitted by the bowl.

She estimates needing between five and 10 judges, depending on how many entries she gets. She plans on contacting people she knows that have been in some type of contact over the last few months already, like the Franklins or the Truelocks.

Awards are still in order for this year, and that means the highly coveted aprons created by Alexander herself and the spoons handmade by Mary Fourney will be given out, though not in a ceremonious way.

“The spoons are beautiful,” she said. “She already has them done, and she has dyed them this year.”

The 2020 dessert contest is July 11, with drop offs from 3-5 p.m. Judging will take place after 5 p.m. Alexander said the winners will be announced that night and published online.

“We have adult and youth categories,” she said. “Drop cookies, rolled cookies, filled/bar cookies and no-bake cookies.”

For ice creams, adults may submit flavors (chocolate, vanilla, etc.) or fruit varieties. Children may submit any type of ice cream. A non-resident category also exists, and visitors or second homeowners can send either type of entry in for judging, she said.

Alexander said she’ll still make the dessert contest fun.

“I have a big yard, and we can spread out,” she said. “We will be healthy, with social distancing.”

The Alexander home is located at 955 AA42 Rd., the road that takes folks up to Deer Mesa. She said it’s important not to trust the apps on smartphones, because they often take drivers to the salvage yard instead.

“It will be short and sweet,” she said. “Betty Ragsdale and Sharon Hardman initiated this years ago, and we haven’t missed a year yet. I think it’s going to be fun.”

Alexander added she especially hopes children will participate. She knows not having the fair is a disappointment for those who look forward to it.

She said she plans to publish dessert contest results in The Norwood Post, both in print and online.