Laura Wiens, The Triplicate

A couple of new events proved popular for people of all ages at the county fair

The Minute It to Win It children's contests were a new feature at the Del Norte County Fair this year, and if the turnout for the grand finale ice cream-eating event was any indication, they were a smashing success.

More than 50 youngsters ages 4andndash;13 consumed about 200 cups of ice cream in 60-second feasts while competing in five age divisions Thursday on the Pond Stage.

Vivien Wells, 10, joined the fun along with her brother Thatcher, 5. Vivien, who was also showing two Muskogee ducks at the fair, said she's had plenty of experience eating ice cream fast.

"I always have to chug-a-lug my ice cream before my grandma gets home because she always hogs the ice cream," said Vivien. Her favorite flavor is mint Oreo, but it was all vanilla in the contest.

Her strategy, "put it in my mouth and try not to choke on it," did not result in victory, but the Uncharted Shores Academy student from Crescent City said going in, "It doesn't matter if you win, it's just to have fun."

Eladio Lucero, 13, a Crescent Elk Middle School student, was motivated by the delicious notion of free ice cream, and came away as thefirst-place winner in the 11andndash;13 age category.

Perhaps it helped that vanilla is his favorite flavor. He also had plenty of relatives supporting him, and four other family members also won medals. Still, he said, "I thought it would be easier, but it was hard."

Coordinator Kim Floyd said the event was well-received.

"A lot of people were coming up to me asking if we were going to have it again next year," said Kim. "They were thanking us, so it was really cool. There were a lot of sticky fingers and messy faces."

Sizing up the old stuff

Another new fair event was the Antique Appraisal Show on Friday in the Arts and Crafts Building. Fairgoers were invited to bring in their old treasures and see if other people would consider them treasures as well.

Right before he started appraising, Gary Germer introduced himself by saying, "As a kid I used to get in trouble going through people's things. Now they pay me for going through things."

Among his "customers":

andbull; Lois Blankenship of Brookings, Ore., brought an old watch and a well-worn stuffed animal that she said "is supposed to be a Teddy Roosevelt bear."

She got the bear from a friend's mother, and Lois has seen a photograph of the woman holding the bear in a parade in 1905.

"He's had the stuffing knocked out of him," observed Gary.

"Well, he is 100 years old," said Lois.

Still, the stuffing had been replaced, and Gary said the bear would be worth $400-$600 "to the right collector."

andbull; Carrie Michael of Crescent City was equipped with an old watch as well, but also a tiny, leather-bound Bible with faded pages.

Gary referred to it as a "little communion book" that some ministers collect. His appraisal was $100-$125, because it was a "neat old piece." No more than that, he said, "unless it was signed by Jesus."

andbull; Phyllis Hatfield, wife of fair CEO Randy Hatfield, brought an old painting of a boat steered by a captain on rough seas that used to hang above her family's sofa.

"I grew up lying on the couch with every known childhood disease - chicken pox, measles, mumps, and this guy got me through it all," said Phyllis, pointing to the skipper. "He kept my little mind busy."

Gary noticed the painting wasn't signed. Still, touched up and cleaned, it might bring $1,200-$1,500 "in a nice shop or appropriate gallery," he said.

andbull; Charles Burd brought in a saw made in the late 1800s, one that he suspected his grandfather used to cut ice for neighbors in New Jersey. The tool bore the brand, "Richardson's Celebrated Saw."

The saw was worth $400-$600, Gary said, although he noted that it didn't seem to bear the marks of ice-cutting.

Charles also brought a Belgian 24-gauge double-barrelled shotgun that he remembered from his childhood.

"I was 12 years old when my great-uncle would come out from the city" to go hunting, said Charles. "He said when I'm done with this gun, it's going to be yours, and my grandfather made sure I got it."

Gary was impressed, estimating its worth at $1,000-$1,500.

But the appraiser seemed most impressed with a Japanese urn and vase owned by a man who said, "I've got a lot more of these at home."

Gary's response: "Where do you live, and when are you not home?"