Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to the Fair

Since January, all the Saturday mornings spent sewing, and this summer, all the hours spent sorting and measuring fabric, ultimately comes together at the annual 4-H Fair. The projects are judged and on public display and all that donated fabric becomes a store for buyers. The fair lasts three days and the girls couldn't get enough of it. We were there for most of the hours it was open.

This fair is low-tech and old-fashioned. There are lots of farm animals, simple games, food booths, a variety of exhibits made by kids, a tractor drawn wagon to ride around the grounds, and a DJ and a local band playing the oldies. Why do my girls love it so much? They even got a kick out of climbing in the parked fire truck. My daughter-in-law and my granddaughter Lana went with us one day and Lana couldn't get enough either. She didn't want to go home.

The first stop is always the clothing exhibit. The girls turned their projects in about a week ago but did not know the results of the judging. The green clover award is the coveted prize. Maybe "coveted" is the problem and there is too much importance placed on it. Arielle and Liana are very gracious about being winners. They don't boast and they feel compassion for those who do not do so well. But since they both won at the regional show, I'm sure they expected to win at the fair. The results: Liana got a clover for her dress and Arielle got one for a purse she made, but Arielle did not have the clover attached to her dress for all the world to see. She never said a word but I imagine she was disappointed. I didn't know why she didn't get it, but there must have been some mistake the judges found in the garment.

Their club participates in a very casual fashion show during the fair. It is just for fun, not prizes. The girls were getting ready and we were taking down the outfits for them to get dressed. When I unpinned Arielle's name card from her dress, I noticed it said "clover award." I opened up the judges comments and there on the bottom it also said "clover." So we asked and sure enough, Arielle had won the clover. We're not sure what happened to it, but it was never attached to her dress. She was very happy though. Maybe it was a good lesson in humility for her.

We visited the chicken barn several times. I am always amazed by the variety of chickens people raise. One boy about eight or nine was carrying his chicken around in his arms and later we saw him with his duck. He let us pet his animals and we talked to him awhile. There was some sort of contest for fair-goers to vote on their favorite fowl. For a dollar you could buy 10 tokens and little boxes were attached to the cages to receive the "votes." I noticed the boy periodically shaking his boxes to see if he had any votes. With so many chickens and ducks, it was likely he would get little to none. His chicken was kind of plain and there were several ducks like his. So we bought tokens and voted for his birds. I hope it brought him some joy.

We spent many hours in the rabbit and cavy tent. I had lots of guinea pig questions for the experts and also inquired about selling our boys. They are being tormented by living next door to the girls. They spend their days trying to figure out how to get into the cages with the girls. We really don't have the room for the two huge cages and the expense of keeping four guinea pigs is becoming a burden. But my mistake was not informing Liana ahead of time about these thoughts. At the fair, I even put up a sign about our boys for anyone interested in them. Later in the evening Liana was sobbing. She admits she doesn't love the boys like she loves Poppy, her own pig, but she is very concerned they might go to a home where they will not be cared for properly. I assured her we would screen the potential buyers very carefully. Still, she wants them to go to a home of one of our friends so she could visit them from time to time. Friends! Would you like two very cute guinea pigs?

Because we had worked so many hours getting ready for our club's fabric sale, we had lots of buying credit. It's $5 for every two hours worked. We came home with beautiful fabric and dreams of winter projects. I hope the girls will continue to be inspired to create. I didn't need any new projects with three quilt tops pieced but not quilted, but I couldn't resist the new colors and designs either.

So the fair is over and that means summer is almost over too. We're looking ahead to the start of school and fall activities.

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