The first annual Turlock Cupcake Wars contest saw two sisters help each other to first and second place finishes and junior bakers perfect their craft.
Nineteen bakers entered their creations in the Turlock Cupcake Wars: Stars and Stripes Challenge, vying for cash prizes in three different age categories. The cupcakes were on display in Reed Realty's Main Street office window from July 1-7. The public was able to cast votes for their favorites through an online ballot.
Turlock sisters Emerald and Scarlett Chaves took first and second place, respectively, in the adult (ages 14 and up) category. The two share a passion for baking, along with both being students at Modesto Junior College.
Emerald Chaves' winning cupcakes featured patriotic Mickey ears and glittered-covered stars in red, blue and silver icing, keeping with the Stars and Stripes theme of the contest.
Each of Scarlett Chaves' four cupcakes had a different patriotic theme: a miniature Declaration of Independence, a girl sitting on a blanket watching a Fourth of July parade, a red and blue pinwheel amidst a burst of stars and a very special yellow ribbon next to a set of dog tags in honor of her brother currently serving in the U.S. Army.
Emerald Chaves credits her sister for keeping her in the contest and helping her win.
"We would give each other ideas. I would get very frustrated and I almost quit. She encouraged me to keep going, " said Emerald about her sister Scarlett.
Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy student Alicea Parreira took first place in the youth ages 9 to 13 category.
"I like to bake a lot," said Parreira. "I wanted to go with the patriotic theme, so I did stars, flags and fireworks because that's how we celebrate the Fourth of July."
Aubrey Webb, who took second place in the youth ages 9 to 13 category, said she bakes a lot at home. Her cupcake decorations included a grill, fireworks and a shooting star.
Cadence Lewis, a student at Great Valley Academy in Modesto, took first place in the youth ages 8 and under category with her cupcakes that featured blue stars among other decorations.
Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy student Jesus Hinojosa took second place in the youth ages 8 and under category. His four cupcakes featured different designs, including a smiling face, googly-eyed spider and spiky monster, and his favorite — a red paper airplane flying among stars.
The inaugural contest, hosted by Downtown Turlock and the Journal and sponsored by Reed Realty, saw over 700 votes cast by the public over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.