Each year, Traditional Arts Indiana honors a long-time state fair participant with the Indiana State Fair Master Award. These men and women give generously of themselves by exhibiting, demonstrating, or performing, at both county and state fairs. They are well-known by neighbors and friends in home communities for a particular skill and for their commitment to passing their excellence on to others. This year, we are honored to name Mary Alice Collins of Markleville, a master baker, as the award’s recipient.
Mary Alice Collins, a more than 50-year participant at the Indiana State Fair, has earned thousands of ribbons for her baked goods.
Mary Alice grew up in the kitchen. Learning how to cook and bake was just part of living on her family’s Hancock County farm. After finishing 10 years of 4-H and starting a career
Mary Alice, left, and her mother, Helen Rushton, have appeared in a number of publications for their achievements at the fair. Mary Alice credits her mother for much of her talent and success.
as a home economics teacher, she began participating at the Indiana State Fair in 1955.
Since then, she has won thousands of ribbons for her pies, cakes, breads and cookies, and has been featured on The View and in a cookbook published by Midwest Living. Now retired, she spends her time passing on winning tips and tricks to family and community members hoping to follow in her footsteps.
Mary Alice received the award Thursday, August 14, during a ceremony at the Indiana State Fair Home and Family Arts Building.