(WJHL) — Linda Skeens hit the mainstream when she dominated the baking, canning and craft category in the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair in Wise, Virginia.
But she has done much more; she has renewed interest in county fairs and their competitions, and kept skills from the past from becoming extinct.
Skeens made a name for herself in the county fair circuit winning most, if not all crafting and baking categories.
“I’ve just always done it. I love doing it,” she says. “I love making crafts. I love making them, either give them away or keep them. I love cooking and baking, and I’ve been doing that for a long time. And I just love them. So I like doing it and I just come up with something new every year in two or three new things, different things.”
Skeens says many fair competitions involve skills that were once necessary for survival. She hopes they are not forgotten.
“I hope this encourages more people to do this because I think with my age group I’ll be 75 in May. I think a lot of people don’t even know what it is, and I think it will be lost if people don’t pick it up now,” Skeens told News Channel 11.
And people seem to be picking it up after social media exploded with Skeens’ sweeps.
“They tell me the rest of County Fair that they had doubled the canned stuff this year than they normally did. And they had more crafts and everything. So I think people were wanting to maybe win. But I encourage anybody to try, especially if you like doing it and you don’t always win,” said Skeens.
Her accolades are no small feat, seeing as Skeens is fighting leukemia.
“You don’t want to hear that you got cancer. Nobody does. And it is and I did get a little bit discouraged and I said, no, I’m not going to feel sorry for myself,” Skeens said. “I’ve got so much, I’m so blessed. I’ve got so much to be thankful for. I’m not going that way. In whatever time I have left.”
And she says she’ll spend that time baking, crafting and staying busy with her family.
You can find some of Linda’s recipes, including information on her upcoming cookbook here.