Chronicle staff writer

Every year the Oktoberfest benefiting St. Joseph Catholic School provides a wide variety of entertainment and activities to the delight of all who attend.

Entertainment this year includes everything from an Elvis impersonator to cheerleaders and activities range from a washer tournament to a 5K and 1-mile fun run.

The Oktoberfest has taken place annually for several years, but last year was the first year for its Burleson’s Pure Honey Bake Off.

Third-grader Rachael Stagner has been a student at the school since pre-K. Last year, her buffalo chip cookie recipe was the winner in the children age 9 and younger, best decorated category.

“I plan to enter the bake off again this year,” said Stagner, adding, “My recipe this year is a secret.”

Stagner did reveal this much, however: “It’s going to have chocolate.”

She said she enjoys baking and says that what she likes most are “stirring and eating the raw cookie dough.”

Participants who enter this year will receive a cookbook featuring recipes from winners of the 2006 Bake Off, along with a Burleson’s Pure Honey T-shirt and a jar of Burleson’s Pure Honey.

Bake off registration for adults is $10 and $6 for children. Judging begins at 12:30 p.m. during Oktoberfest.

All participants must bring their recipe written or typed on a 3-inch by 5-inch card and must give permission to print their recipe.

“We’ve tried to get judges that represent the Ellis County community, a nice cross-section of judges representing different charities and businesses,” bake off chairman Kristi Jurek said.

This year’s judges include Ovilla resident and St. Joseph Catholic Church member Barbara Betik. Betik has been a food judge at the State Fair of Texas for the past six years, where she has judged everything from jams and jellies to chili, ribs and barbecued brisket.

“One of my favorite categories to judge at the State Fair is the youth cooking,” said Betik of the group that includes cooks from ages 5 to 17.

“What those young individuals did was phenomenal,” she said. “You get such a good feeling when you see their faces. They smile so big when they win or place in the contest.”

Betik said that entering cooking or baking contests at the State Fair encourages the youth to come back year after year, working to improve their recipe each year.

“They learn to be persistent and that’s what it’s all about,” said Betik, who loves to cook, bake and can. Her husband, Bob Betik, loves to cook as well and has developed a “delicious” barbecue sauce, she said, noting he will be one of the Knights of Columbus members in the kitchen at the Oktoberfest.

Betik is looking forward to being a judge in the bake off.

“I enjoy the talent that we have in the Waxahachie and surrounding area and having these bakers come forward with their items such as pies, cakes, strudel, brownies and fudge, to have these bakers provide delicacies,” she said. “It’s all made from scratch and the public learns (the entrants’) tricks of the trade, their tips about how to not only make the food look good but taste good.”

A spokesman for Burleson’s Pure Honey said the company is excited about sponsoring the bake off.

“We look at it as a great way to give back to the community,” said Jim Phillips, the company’s sales and marketing director. “As a community-wide event, we enjoy supporting St. Joseph Catholic School, St. Joseph Catholic Church and its parishioners.”

Oktoberfest takes place from 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Ellis County Expo Center, located on the U.S. Highway 287 Bypass. Admission is free.

For more information, visit www.OktoberfestWaxahachie.com.

E-mail Jennifer at jennifer.howell@waxahachiedailylight.com